Polish GE seed ban big step towards sustainable agriculture

Press release - May 18, 2006
Greenpeace welcomed the ban on the sale of genetically engineered (GE) seeds, which was approved yesterday by the President of Poland Lech Kaczynski. The signing by the President was the final step for the GE ban to come into force, the legislation was approved by both chambers of the Polish Parliament in previous weeks.

Greenpeace welcomed the ban on the sale of genetically engineered (GE)seeds, which was approved yesterday by the President of Poland LechKaczynski. The signing by the President was the final step for the GEban to come into force, the legislation was approved by both chambersof the Polish Parliament in previous weeks.

One of the amendments of the new act states that, "geneticallyengineered varieties will no longer be registered in the National SeedsCatalogue", another adds that trading of GE seeds is forbidden withinPolish territory. These regulations constitute a big step forward inorder to keep the country's agriculture completely free of GE crops.

"This decision by the Polish President shows that political decisionmakers are at last taking into account the serious perils connectedwith planting of GE crops, these crops are not needed and pose a gravedanger to the environment, consumers and farmers' livelihoods," saidMaciej Muskat, Greenpeace GE campaigner in Poland. "The Government haskept their word to Polish voters, farmers and environmentalists andimplemented this ban - a promise that was given prior to the lastelection."

The ban is a clear political signal that directly contravenes therecent WTO ruling, the verdict declared EU member states national banson GE organisms are in breach of the rules of free trade. "Poland hasimplemented this GE seeds ban in defiance of bullying from both theEuropean Commission and the WTO," said Mr Muskat.

There are now 12 GE organism bans in seven EU countries, more than in2003 when the US presented its case against the EU to the WTO. ThePolish announcement is a blow to US agro-chemical giants, as Poland isthe second biggest agricultural food producer in the EU.

"Greenpeace will continue to work with and encourage other countries tofollow the Polish example, which has put environmental concerns andsustainable agriculture above the profits of agro-chemicalconglomerates." Concluded Mr Muskat.   

VVPR info: Maciej Muskat European GE campaigner in Poland +40 509 058 651Jacek Winiarski European GE media officer in Poland +48 504 274 080