BERLIN - January 11 - Greenpeace today, joined by a former
manager of Monsanto and Limagrain in Romania, Mr Dragos Dima, at a press
conference at the International Green Week in Berlin exposed how
Monsanto will contaminate EU agriculture with genetically engineered
(GE) Soya. U.S. biotech giant made an application in December 2005 to
the European Union to grow its genetically engineered (GE) 'Roundup
Ready' soybeans across the whole of Europe once its current licence -
permitting the beans' import but not cultivation - expires in 2006 (1).
"Ten years after the introduction of Monsanto's GE Soya into the
environment and our food, we have collected enough data from around the
world to be able to say that this product should have never been
approved in the first place. Recent Greenpeace research in Romania has
exposed the fact that since the company has introduced GE Soya; things
have gone totally out of control. European member states should avoid
Romania's example, protect European agriculture and oppose Monsanto's
application," says Susanne Fromwald from Greenpeace Central and Eastern
A new Greenpeace report reveals that the GE Soya crop in Romania covers
more hectares than are officially registered. Due to illegal
cultivation and uncontrollable contamination, conventional and organic
farming is now impossible in many regions.
"Transgenic seeds are a poisoned promise. Romania did not have any
scientific and public debate prior to the commercial introduction.
Neither the authorities, nor the companies applied the precautionary
principle in assessing the impact of these crops in agriculture. Year
after year, the acreage of the herbicide resistant soybeans increased
uncontrollably," stated Mr Dima, who left Monsanto in 1999, when the GE
soybeans were first introduced in Romania.
Romanian Government officials, reacting to Greenpeace's findings,
announced that the cultivation of GE crops should be reduced in 2006 and
phased out completely by 2007, when it is due to join the EU. However,
Monsanto filing an application for the whole of Europe now would
effectively prevent Romania ridding itself of GE crops and GE
Experience in Argentina and the United States has showed the cultivation
of Monsanto´s GE soybeans contaminates conventional and organic
agriculture. Furthermore, it has been reported that the cultivation of
these crops often leads to the increased use of pesticides. Increasing
rain forest destruction, especially in Argentina, is also closely
related to the expansion of GE soy planting (2). Recent research also
shows irregularities of the introduced genetic construct, which could
cause unintended effects in these crops (3). Some alarming health
signals were reported after feeding trials with mice (4).
Greenpeace opposes the release of GE Soya into the environment and the
food chain and is asking the European member states to reject Monsanto's
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.
For further information regarding the Greenpeace GE campaign and to
download a copy of the report please go to www.greenpeace.org
Notes to editor:
(1) Application of US company Monsanto for cultivation in EU: http://www.efsa.eu.int/science/gmo/gm_ff_applications/more_info/1243_en.html
(2) Benbrook report, Rust, Resistance and Rising Costs - Problems facing Soybean producers in Argentina. 20 January 2005
(3) Rang, A et al,2005,Detection of RNA variants transcribed from the
transgene in Roundup Ready soybean, Eur Food Res Technol 220:438-443
(4) Malatesta M, Caporaloni C, Gavaudan S, Rocchi MBL, Serafini S,
Gazzanellli G (2002): Ultrastructural Morphometrical and Immunocytochemical Analyses of Hepatocyte Nuclei from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean. Cell Structural und Function 27: 173- 180.