The report is a summary of incidents uncovered by the on-line
Contamination Register (1) set up by Greenpeace and GeneWatch UK.
It reveals a catalogue of highly disturbing incidents right across
the world, including:
- Pork meat from genetically engineered pigs being sold to
- Ordinary crops being contaminated with GE crops containing
- Growing and international distribution of illegal antibiotic
resistant Maize seeds
- Planting of outlawed GE crops which have been smuggled into
- Mixing of unapproved GE crops in food, including shipments of
- Inadvertent mixing of different GE strains even in high profile
scientific field trials
The report reveals 113 such cases worldwide, involving 39
countries - twice as many countries as are officially allowed to
grow GM crops since they were first commercialised in 1996.
Worryingly, the frequency of these cases is increasing, with 11
countries affected in 2005 alone. Contamination has even been found
in countries conducting supposedly ''carefully controlled"
high-profile farm-scale evaluations, such as the UK.
"This may well only be the tip of the iceberg, as there is no
official global or national contamination register so far," said
Dr. Sue Mayer of GeneWatch UK, who leads the team of investigators.
"Most incidents of contamination are actually kept as confidential
business information by companies as well as public
Greenpeace is calling for a mandatory international register of
all such events to be set up, along with the adoption of minimum
standards of identification and labelling of all international
shipments of GE crops. "Without such biosafety standards ,the
global community will have no chance of tracing and recalling
dangerous GMOs, should this become necessary." said Benedikt
Haerlin of Greenpeace International's Biosafety Protocol
The publication of the report comes only days before the latest
meeting of the 132 countries who have signed the Biosafety Protocol
(2), which is to establish standards of safety and information of
GE crops in global food and feed trade. At their last meeting an
imminent agreement was blocked by only two member states, Brazil
and New Zealand. They were backed by the major GE exporting
countries USA, Argentina and Canada, who are not members of the
Protocol and want to restrict required identification to a
meaningless note that a shipment "may contain" GE.
"All of these countries have national legislation to protect
themselves from illegal GE imports. Still they want to deny the
same rights and level of information to less developed countries,
with no national Biosafety-laws and means to enforce them,"
concluded Haerlin. "Do they really want such unethical double
standards and create dumping grounds for unidentified and illegal
GE imports? We hope that Brazil, who will be hosting this meeting,
will not betray the developing countries and cater to large
agro-businesses at the expense of the environment."
Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses
non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental
problems to force solutions that are essential to a green and
Other contacts: Michael Kessler, Greenpeace International Communications +34 660 637 053Benedikt Haerlin, Greenpeace International, +49 173 999 7555 Prof. Doreen Stabinsky , Greenpeace USA, +1 202 285 7398 Isabelle Meister, Greenpeace China, +86 139 105 57302 Dr Sue Mayer, GeneWatch UK, +44 1298 871898
Notes: Notes to editors: 1. The GM Contamination Register is online at www.gmcontaminationregister.org. The full report is also available at www.greenpeace.org/bsp2006 2. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety under the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty to establish minimum international safety standards for genetically engineered organisms ratified by 132 states. http://www.biodiv.org/biosafety 3. An overview of national legislation on imports and labelling of GE organisms world wide including a map of potential GE dumping grounds as well as import and export figures is available online at http://www.greenpeace.org/bsp2006