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More GE Seed Contamination Found in EU

More Genetic Contamination of Seeds in European Market
04 May 2001
Source: Press Release, Greenpeace.

Greenpeace tests on so called conventional seeds due for planting in the
coming weeks in the EU show they are contaminated with genetically
engineered (GE) seeds. The findings add to the mounting evidence of
widespread illegal GE pollution in Europe.(1) Tests on three maize
varieties in Austria by an independent laboratory show the presence of
both Monsanto and Novartis strains of GE seed.(2) Two further cases were
uncovered in Germany last week.
`
While the spring planting season has begun, Greenpeace warns that
farmers cannot be certain of the true nature of the seeds they are
planting because of the frequency of contamination. At least three of
the cases discovered in Europe this spring involve contamination with GE
varieties, which are illegal to plant in Europe - Novartis BT11 maize
and Monsanto's GA21. (3) "It's clear that these examples only represent
the tip of the iceberg as many countries either do not have the
resources or facilities to test seeds for GE contamination, or in some
cases they lack the political will to protect their farmers and
consumers from genetic pollution," said Lorenz Petersen of Greenpeace
International. "Monsanto, Aventis and Novartis (now known as Syngenta)
the primary producers of GE products world-wide, have an obligation to
ensure their manipulated grains do not contaminate pure seeds, and they
are consistently negligent as far as that responsibility goes."

Greenpeace is demanding that the EU and national authorities take the
appropriate measures to ensure that zero tolerance of seed contamination
by unapproved varieties is enforced and that the contaminated seeds be
withdrawn from the market or destroyed if already planted. Reliable
quality certification regimes should be implemented to prevent further
GE contamination. Farmers, retailers and the organic food sectors should
be compensated by the GE seed companies on the basis of the polluter
pays principle, which is fundamental principle of EU environmental law.
((For further information: Lorenz Petersen, Greenpeace Genetic
Engineering Campaigner, Tel: +49 3030889927; Briget Gavin,
Greenpeace EU Unit: +32 22801400 or +32 495693710,
Lorenzo Consoli, Media Officer, Greenpeace EU Unit Mob: +32 496 122
112 )))

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