“Illegal” import of U.S genetically engineered maize arrives in Europe

Press release - 17 April, 2005
Greenpeace activists today demanded the Dutch government stop the off-loading of a cargo of genetically engineered (GE) maize, to prevent its illegal distribution across Europe.

Greenpeace activists collect samples of GE maize from the cargo ship 'Victory C'. The ship is carrying an unauthorised cargo of GE Maize for illegal distribution across Europe.

A shipment of US maize corn from New Orleans,which is suspected to contain unauthorized GE maize docked in Rotterdamharbour this morning, less than 48 hours after the European Unionbanned any imports from America that are not certified free of Bt10 - agenetically modified maize not licensed in the EU (1).

"TheDutch government must act today to stop this unauthorised GE cargo frombeing distributed across Europe," said Ulrike Brendel from Greenpeace."The EU has sent a clear signal that this kind of genetically modifiedmaize is not wanted. If it is off loaded it will be impossible totrace."

Greenpeace demands that the ship, the Victory C, be forced to return to America with its cargo intact.

TheVictory C cargo is just a small part of a GE fleet coming from the U.Sto Europe. In 2003 3.5 Mio tonnes of maize gluten were imported to theEU (Eurostat 2004). Despite significant rejection of GE in food and

animalfeed by European consumers, biotech companies are making itincreasingly difficult to police their imports by failing to provideauthorities with adequate testing methods.

Before the EU banwas agreed last week it was estimated by the EU Commission that 1,000tons of illegal Bt10 products had been imported into European markets.

Just last week Greenpeace revealed another illegal GE crop, this time rice, was being sold in China.


Other contacts: Ulrike Brendel, Greenpeace International, Genetic Engineering campaigner: +49 171 87 80 844Sandra Schalk, Greenpeace Netherlands, Genetic Engineering campaigner: +31 6 29001140Sara Holden, Greenpeace International Communications: +31 615 007 406

Notes: Notes:(1) Last Friday the EU members adopted measures that require a certificate guaranteeing the maize gluten being free of Bt10. Since biotech company, Syngenta, which produced the maize, has not provided any test methods or documentation, the presence of Bt10 cannot be ruled out. Friday's ruling will be ratified next week.

Exp. contact date: 2005-05-02 00:00:00