Greenpeace locks in GE soya until

Press release - 14 May, 2004
Thirty Greenpeace activists are occupying the Cereol/Bunge soya processing facility this morning in Ancona, Italy. The protest follows the action in the Adriatic Sea, near Venice, where the Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, stopped the offloading of a ship carrying some 40,000 tons of GE soya from Argentina for four days. On Monday, Greenpeace activists also closed Italy's main soya import facilities in Ravenna.

Greenpeace activists occupy the silos of the Cereol Italia soya processing facility in Ancona, in order to reject the importation of GE soya into Europe.

Activists from Italy, Spain, Austria and Denmark have locked the entrance and exit gates to the plant to prevent any of the GE soya leaving. Others are chained at the weigh bridge, some others have hung a banner 20 metres long at a silo demanding "Stop GMO food". A Greenpeace team is sampling the soya from the Cereol warehouse for the record.

"After being refused by consumers, GMOs are now being abandoned by the same companies who developed them. Bayer withdrew its GE maize in the UK some weeks ago, Monsanto have abandoned their GE wheat plans and GE canola earlier this week. So why are Cereol/Bunge still importing GMOs? GMO free soya is widely available from Brazil, in fact over 50,000 tons of GE free Brazilian soya is being delivered right here right now for Bunge," says Federica Ferrario, Greenpeace Italy GE campaigner

Cereol is the Italian subsidiary of Bunge, the main international soya handling and processing company. Cereol/Bunge have another two premises in Italy: Ravenna and Porto Marghera, and is also importing soya meal from Argentina. In Ancona, 1500 tons of soya are being processed daily.

The management of the plant in Ravenna told Greenpeace recently that they are currently GE free, because they are importing GE Free soya from Brazil, but they could resume GMO imports by October. The company has so far made no commitment to maintain the Ravenna facility as GE Free and it continues to import millions of tons of GE soya for its Ancona and Porta Maghera facilities.

"Bunge/Cereol has the ability to make this and its other soya import and processing facilities GE Free, but it appears they do not have the will to do so. Companies who control our food supply have a responsibility to provide GE Free and /or public authorities have a responsibility to control the companies who control our food supply. One way or another, we have a right to GE Free food and today we are taking action to protect that right." Lindsay Keenan, Greenpeace International GE Campaigner said.

Greenpeace has stepped up its campaign around the world against GE food. Many shipments carrying soya suspected of being contaminated with GE are being targeted in ports around the world. In Brazil, an Argentinean ship, Global Wind, was forced to leave without loading non-GE soya on top of its GE cargo. In Australia, the Rainbow Warrior and her crew delayed a U.S. shipment of GE soya being transported to Melbourne. Shoppers Guides have been launched in twenty countries including France, Brazil, Germany, Spain and Italy, the guides will effectively educate millions of consumers about GE products.

VVPR info: Video available from +31 635 504 721Photos available from Franca Michienzi, +31 653 81 9255Follow the global Greenpeace campaign for a GE-free future