Weak GMO identification improvements insufficient to protect developing countries

Press release - 18 March, 2006
Curitiba, Brazil, Saturday, March 18, 2006 - Greenpeace today welcomed, with reservations, a last minute compromise at the Biosafety Protocol negotiations which improves standards of identification of genetically engineered organisms in international shipments of food and feed. However, the new regulations fall short of fully protecting vulnerable developing countries from unidentified and potentially illegal GMO imports.

"The vast majority of the 132 member states party to the Biosafety Protocol came to the meeting intending to propose clear language requiring the clear identification of  shipments which contain GMOs," said Greenpeace International's Benedikt Haerlin from the meeting in Curitiba. "What they've come away with is 'may contain GMOs'. While this weak agreement is an improvement on the current regulations, it doesn't go far enough.

"Responsibility for this compromise decision falls squarely at the feet of a minority group of vested interests led by transnational  Agro-Biotech firms, commodity traders, the US, Canada and Argentina (not members of the Protocol), who used countries like Mexico and Paraguay as stalking horses to hijack proceedings from the very start, turning crucial  international negotiations on the issues of biodiversity, biosafety and human health into hard-nosed trade deals.

"In the process, Mexico and Paraguay have betrayed the aspirations of developing countries, who, despite the mild improvements in the regulations, will now be obliged to look to additional national legislation to protect themselves," concluded Haerlin.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental Problems, and to force solutions essential to a green and peaceful future.

Further information:

Benedikt Haerlin, Greenpeace International GE spokesperson, +55 41 9682 3117

Mariana Paoli, Greenpeace International GE Campaigner +55 41 9677 1824

Michael Kessler, Greenpeace International Communications +34  660 637 053