- June 24 - Greenpeace today welcomed the EU Environment Council decision to implement
a factual ban on any new approvals for the commercial release of genetically modified
organisms (GMOs). According to Greenpeace estimates this ban will last at least
until the year 2002.
“This is a clear step in the right direction,” said Greenpeace
GE Issues Specialist, Charles Margulis. “While European governments are finally
reacting to their citizens massive rejection of GMOs in food and agriculture,
the U.S. government continues to do nothing to protect the consumers of this country."
Greenpeace and many other environmental and consumer organizations
have been demanding a halt of GMO releases ever since the first GMOs were introduced
to the market from the United States in 1996. “We hope that this decision will
send out a clear signal around the world,” said Louise Gale, Greenpeace International
Political Advisor. “GMOs are an environmental threat and an unjustified experiment
with food. We hope that this will be heard as well in the United States as in
other countries around the world, which have already started to commercially grow
GMOs. European citizens just will not buy it and finally, EU authorities will
not accept it. We certainly hope that this will be the first step towards a consistent
ban on the release of GMOs in the future.”
The acting EU president Juergen Trittin (Germany) announced
today that on the basis of the precautionary principle the EU will not authorize
any new GMOs in Europe until the introduction of strict environmental standards.
The final legal implementation of this decision is presently drafted.
As the ministers gathered for the council meeting this morning
in Luxembourg Greenpeace activists dressed as butterflies and unfurled a banner
that read “Give Butterflies a Chance; Stop GenetiX Crops”. Last week Greenpeace
published a list of more than 100 European butterfly species that could be threatened
by the toxic pollen of so called Bt-maize. The maize has been genetically engineered
to produce a toxin from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. A recent Cornell
University study showed that nearly 45 percent of American Monarch butterfly larvae
fed with Bt-maize pollen died within 48 hours.
“This decision by the EU Council should be a wake up call to
U.S. officials to stop this corporate experiment on American consumers and at
the very least support labeling of all GE food products,” added Margulis.
You can learn more about genetic engineering by reading the
following media kits: