Greenpeace Biosafety Inspectors investigate Soya processing plant

Press release - 11 May, 2004
25 Greenpeace activists initiated an inspection today at Bunge soya processing plant in Passo Fundo, in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Most of the GE soya planted in Brazil is in the region of Rio Grande do Sul. Passo Fundo is located in the centre of GE plantations in Brazil.

Greenpeace activists (wearing Bio-safety Inspector t-shirts) demonstrate at 'Bunge' soya crushing plant at Passo Fundo.

The Company facility is surrounded by GE soya fields, and it processes these soybeans into the popular soya oil brands "Primor" and "Soya". The environmental organization requested documentation and samples to establish whether the soya and its product comply with national legislations, specifically labelling rules (1).

The Biosafety Inspectors also demanded a list of items produced in the plant to be properly labelled as required by the national legislation. The Inspection is part of the tour "Brazil melhor sem transgênicos" (Brazil is better without GE food crops).

"The lack of identification on the crops in this plant implies that there can be no traceability on the final product. Consumers have the right to know what they are eating and consuming," said Mariana Paoli, Greenpeace Brazil campaigner. "Bunge guarantees GE free animal feed for animals in Germany, needs to respect the right to know and listen to the Brazilian consumers who have said no to GMOs and provide GE free products in Brazil."

Last year independent analysis commissioned by Greenpeace found that animal feed sold by Bunge was GE contaminated and was not labelled.

Brazilian legislation is clear concerning its labelling rules; nevertheless this legislation is neither respected by companies nor guaranteed by the Government. According to national legislation labelling and traceability are essential in order to guarantee the consumers' right to know which would enable them to reject GE food in Brazil and meet its international obligations.

"Consumers demand for non-GE is getting stronger in Brazil every day," concluded Paoli "The farmers that choose the GE option are taking part in a risky business, not only because of the market rejection but also because of the false promises of Monsanto regarding this technology."(2)

Also today, in Thailand Greenpeace brought Chinese sausages to TOPS

Supermarket and demanded a refund from the large supermarket chain after tests revealed that 33% of the soya ingredient used in its own-branded sausages were from genetically engineered Roundup Ready soya. In Italy, Greenpeace intercepted the entry of an Argentinean GE soya ship preventing it from offloading its cargo for over 48 hours.

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Notes: (1) Decreto federal n. 4.680, of 23rd April 2003, and Portaria federal n. 2.658, of 18th December 2003In accordance with the decree, all products that contain more than 1% of GE raw material must be packed, and sold with a specific label that displays the transgenic symbol prominently, along with the following phrases: "transgenic (product)", "produced with transgenic (raw material)" or "with transgenic (raw material)".(2) The survey by Ibope was made in Brazil in 2003 with 2000 people involved. This poll shows that 74% prefer not to eat GE food.