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Greenpeace Barricades Nestle in China to Stop GE Contamination

Greenpeace Barricades Nestle in China to Stop GE Contamination

HONG KONG: Greenpeace barricades Nestle factory to stop GE
contamination: activists chained to entrance to prevent GE products
hitting the market

29 May 2001
Source: Press Release

More than 10 Greenpeace activists chained themselves to the entrance of
Nestle factory in Yuen Long in a pre-dawn action yesterday to prevent its
products from leaving the compound and getting into the market in order to
"halt genetically engineered food contamination" in Hong Kong. Greenpeace
decided to "close" Nestle this morning after the company repeatedly broke
its promise to phase out GE ingredients in its food products.

In 1999, Greenpeace found two Nestle products - a fresh soya milk and a
beancurd dessert both marketed under the brand Pak Fook - to contain GE
ingredients, Monsanto's Roundup Ready-Soya. This year, Pak Fook fresh soya
milk has again been found to contain the same GE ingredients in two separate
tests while another Nestle product - Pak Fook Hi-calcium Life Soya Milk -
also has GE materials.

In a letter to Greenpeace, dated 8 February, 2000, Nestle stated: " For
Nestle in Hong Kong, a majority of our products do not contain GMO
ingredients. We are in the process of substituting GMO derived ingredients
in any remaining products where possible..." In the same correspondence,
it said "...we support a responsible use of gene technology but will refrain
from using GMO derived ingredients where consumers are reluctant to
accept."

"Nestle has reneged on its promise to go GE-free and it has also
contradicted its own corporate business principles that it will not use
GE ingredients if consumers do not want it. In a survey conducted in
October 1999, more than 80% of respondents said they would prefer
non-GE food if given a choice while 95% demanded a labeling system.
People in Hong Kong clearly do not want GE food but are still being
forced to accept it. Greenpeace wants this to stop right now," said Lo
Sze Ping of Greenpeace China.

In today's action, activists were chained to the front gate of the Nestle
plant while a vehicle was parked at the back to block the rear entrance
in order to blockade the factory to prevent its daily distribution from
taking place. A banner which read "No more lies. No more GE food"
was displayed at the front entrance. The environmental group also made
a satirical modification of Nestle's internationally recognisable logo by
depicting one of the birds with " a long Pinocchio nose" and "losing its
teeth". Losing teeth, in colloquial Chinese culture, is jokingly interpreted
as one of the consequences of lying.

"At present, there is no labeling system in place in Hong Kong and Nestle,
which claims to be the world's largest food company, has been lying through
its teeth about a GE phase out. Because nobody is willing to do something
constructive to protect public health, Greenpeace has decided to step in to
barricade Nestle in order to stop GE food from hitting the market and
contaminating Hong Kong, even just for a day," added Lo.

" Some Nestle baby food products in Thailand are also found to have GE
ingredients but Nestle in some countries in Europe have already gone GE
free. Nestle is obviously applying double standards in Asia by dumping GE
food in this part of the world. This kind of trade practice is despicable,
immoral and unethical," said Lo.

Greenpeace opposes genetic manipulation of food because of its possible
danger to the environment and human health. There are concerns that GE
foods may trigger new allergic reactions, affect antibiotic treatment, or alter
nutritional value.

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