Genetically engineered crops contaminate fields and food around the world

Press release - 30 May, 2005
Greenpeace, farmers' organizations and community representatives today called on delegates to the Biosafety Protocol meeting to urgently introduce strict liability regulations to make companies accountable for the contamination and damage caused by their GE products.

In a written invitation to Canadian Environment Minister Stéphane Dion,the groups called on the minister to join them for the opening of thebiosafety protocol meeting, for a 'return to sender' activity in orderto hand over to him Canadian GE canola found to be growing wild inJapan.

As predicted by environmental, farming and social movements, GE seedshave, since their introduction in 1996, contaminated food crops and theenvironment right across the globe. Over 50 incidents of illegal orunapproved GE contamination have been documented in 25 countries on 5continents, and those are only the recorded incidents.

Illegal and unapproved GE contamination of seeds and crops has beenrecorded in maize in Mexico, rice in China, soya in Brazil, papaya inThailand, oilseed rape in Europe, cotton in India, canola in Canada,and now, in the latest example, GE canola in Japan. In Chile, where theWorld Seed Congress starts today,

Greenpeace is calling attention to the latest case of illegal maizeseed contamination, the first to be found in this country highlydependent on its export seed industry.

"GMOs have been found growing in the fields of farmers who never askedfor, nor ever wanted, GE anywhere near their fields. Yet instead ofcompensation the farmers have found themselves forced by sharp lawyersand intimidation to pay the GE seed companies -- for damage to thecompany's patent!" Greenpeace GE Campaigner Doreen Stabinsky said.

Potentially allergenic GE maize (Starlink) has contaminated foodproducts on two continents and dangerous GE pharmaceutical crops havebeen discovered in silos of harvested crops in the USA. In themeantime, field trials or commercial growing of anything from pigvaccines to industrial plastics continues apace in the USA.

"If states don't act now to make producers and exporters accountable,further and more dangerous GMO contamination is around the corner,"said Stabinsky.

Greenpeace demands negotiators immediately establish an interimliability regime and compensation fund for harm done to farmers,consumers or the environment.

"The evidence shows that GMOs may cause irreversible harm to ecosystemsand biodiversity even far away from their country of origin. As long asno binding international liability regulations have been agreed,importing countries risk that they may have to pay for the damagethemselves," said Stabinsky.  "Under these conditions, countriesshould simply refuse to accept imports of GMOs."

Other contacts: Doreen Stabinsky PhD, Greenpeace GE Campaigner +1 202 285 7398 Andrew Male, Greenpeace Canada Communications Coordinator +1 416 880 2757

Exp. contact date: 2006-05-30 00:00:00