Greenpeace activists occupy Moyesa/ Bunge soya processing facility to highlight the use of GE soya in the plant.
As the world's leading oilseed processing company and as one of
the world's leading traders and processors of soya, Bunge not only
has a responsibility for the environmental safety of the products
that it trades but also its position within the industry gives it
influence over the global trade in soya.
We know that Bunge already supplies some small volumes of
guaranteed non-GE soya as do a number of Bunge subsidiary
companies. Therefore we consider it is a matter of company policy
and responsibility as to whether or not supply GE or non-GE.
Unfortunately the good people at Bunge headquarters seem to be
rather coy about taking a stance, stating that it "...pursues a
strategy that devolves responsibility for handling GE crops to each
of its businesses so that they are able to effectively meet the
specific requirements of each of the markets they serve."
So, we decided to go and visit the company's facilities in a
number of countries to see the reality for ourselves and to discuss
the company's responsibilities directly with them.
We visited the processing plants of Bunge/Cereol in Ravena and
Ancona, Italy and Moyresa/Bunge in Cartagena, Spain. The management
of the plant in Ravenna, Italy told us that they are currently GE
free, because they are importing GE Free soya from Brazil, but they
could resume GMO imports by October. In Ancona, and in Cartagena,
Spain a shipment of soyabeans, was delivered to processing
facilities which currently contained GE soya, thereby deliberately
contaminating the shipment of non-GE soya.
"Bunge has the ability to make these 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," said Lindsay Keenan, our
International GE campaigner.
Bunge has now said that it will keep its soya processing
facilities at Ravenna in Italy, Bilbao in Spain and Mannheim in
Germany GE free from April till October but that is all they are
willing to commit too. The many other Bunge facilities around
Europe, Brazil and globally will go on dumping millions of tons of
GE soya into the food and feed supply.
Juan Felipe Carrasco our campaigner from Spain commented: "We
know that Moyresa/Bunge is importing shipments of GE soya, and also
occasionally shipments of non-GE soya, into Spain. We know that
this company has the expertise and the market power to convert its
Spanish soya processing facilities to supply guaranteed non-GE, so
why do they choose not to do so?"
Last year we commissioned some independent analysis that found
that animal feed sold by Bunge in Brazil was GE contaminated but
was not labelled as such. Brazilian legislation is clear concerning
its labelling rules; nevertheless this legislation is neither
respected by companies nor guaranteed by the government.
We inspected a soya processing plant in Passo Fundo, in the
Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul in May. We are concerned that
the soya being processed is contaminated as Passo Fundo is located
in the centre of GE plantations in Brazil.
"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, our GE campaigner in Brazil. "Bunge is able to
guarantee GE free animal feed for animals in Germany but they also
need to respect the right of Brazilian consumers who have said no
Bunge's policy on GE has huge international sway, its market
influence is a combination of size and positioning. This year alone
it has expanded its business in India, Russia and Turkey.
If they make more refineries GE Free it would increase the
volume of non-GE soya being processed and so more non-GE
ingredients are available for EU food industry, it would also
reduce the potential for contamination that occurs when GE and
In the past few months we had several encounters with Bunge on
occasions where they were ex- or importing GE soy, were carelessly
risking contaminating non-GE soya or by their own admition
labelling non GE soya as containing GE. By doing so Bunge is
deliberately reducing the availability of non-GE soya. And
therefore making it harder for the food industry to supply products
made without GE plants. But we still have hope that through our
guiding light and plain talking negotiations GE-free Bunge
facilities will become the norm instead of the exception.
Please help us to protect the homeland of soya from Bunge by building
a cyber Great Wall to keep GE Soya out of China!