There have been no farm animal revolts yet, but one of Brazil’s top food producers and meat exporters is not taking any chances. Perdigão will eliminate genetically engineered ingredients from all its food products, including meat, and is taking additional steps to ensure its supplies of animal feed are not genetically contaminated.
This pig is happy, not because he has the run of the barn yard, but because he is getting GE-free food. Pigs and humans can work together to fight genetic engineering.
Earlier this year we found GE soya in five products sold by
Perdigão. Although genetically engineered (GE) soya and maize are
not legally approved in Brazil, GE soya seeds are reportedly
smuggled in illegally from Argentina. Half of the soya grown in
Brazil is actually used within the country and the bulk of it goes
to animal feed used for poultry and pork products exported to
Europe and Asia.
We repeatedly asked Perdigão to stop using GE ingredients in
food and in animal feed used for its poultry and pork products, and
after pressure by Greenpeace cyberactivists, consumers and our campaigners,
they have agreed to go GE-free.
With this commitment by Perdigão, Brazil strengthens its
position as the forerunner in the non-GE market by providing non-GE
meat for export as well. Earlier this year, another major Brazilian
food producer and meat exporter, Sadia, announced its commitment to
The Brazilian food industry has clearly realised that they need
to seize this golden opportunity to provide for the rapidly
increasing non-GE market. It means that, even if GE crops were
approved, a large share of the crop production would remain non-
GE. This is great news for the vast majority of consumers, both in
Brazil and abroad, who want non-GE food.
Perdigão says the measures will be fully implemented by 1
December 2002. Within Brazil, both Sadia and Perdigão buy and use
millions of tonnes of soya and maize. Some of the grains are used
to produce food for the Brazilian market, but the major share is
used as animal feed for poultry and pork, an increasing share of
which gets exported to Europe and Asia.
Now Brazil joins an increasing number of European food producers
who are responding to the demands of consumers by producing animal
products without using GE supplies.
And it isn't just the animals and consumers benefiting from this
shift. Brazilian companies stand to reap the rewards from the
market shift to non-GE animal products in Europe and the growing
share of the non-GE markets in Asia.
Since the Brazilian government has so far failed to control GE
contamination, the food industry is enforcing extra measures to
secure non-GE supplies. Brazil is anticipated to further capitalise
on its market advantage of being the only one of the world's top
three soya producers not allowing GE crops. Non-GE policy makes
sense not only from environment and health reasons, but is economic
logic as well.