The Progressive


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For Immediate Release

In Brussels: Gabriella Zanzanaini, +32 488 409 662; gzanzanaini(at)fweurope(dot)org
In Washington: Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467; drakestraw(at)fwwatch(dot)org

EU Succumbs to U.S. Pressure on GM Contamination

Industry spent over half a billion lobbying for pro-GMO policies in past decade


Today, the head of Brussels-based Food & Water Europe and Washington D.C.-based Food & Water Watch denounced a recent EU Animal Committee vote to permit animal feed contaminated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as "spectacularly shortsighted."

The EU committee responsible for animal health has voted to accept what it calls a "technical solution" to GM contamination of animal feed that will permit up to 0.1% of imports to contain GM traits that have not been assessed as safe under European regulations.

"This spectacularly shortsighted move comes after years of intense pressure from U.S. biotech lobbyists looking to cut the costs segregating out crops the EU has not yet approved," said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Europe. Since 1999, the 50 largest agricultural and food patent holding companies and two of the largest biotechnology and agrochemical trade associations have spent more than $572 million in campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures in the U.S.

The move comes under the guise of easing farmers' access to cheap feed, with the industry arguing that EU restrictions have made it more difficult to import GM soya. But a mere .2 % of all EU feed imports have ever been turned back because they contained unapproved GMOs, and none have been refused since 2009. All of the shipments ever refused have been from the U.S.

"By exaggerating the situation and inflaming concerns among beleaguered EU livestock farmers, the industry has successfully and dishonestly painted a 'life or death' scenario for them," said Hauter.

The move does not diminish the need for Europe to urgently address its reliance on imported proteins for animal feed, nor does it coincide with the wishes of European consumers, who have consistently rejected GMOs at the checkout counter.

Food & Water Europe and Food & Water Watch called on the U.S. to stop pressuring other countries to accept its choices for food and agriculture. "Every country has the right to plant and eat what they choose without interference from unaccountable multinational agribusinesses," said Hauter.

The organisation also called for real labels on all meat, milk, eggs and dairy products denoting where GM feed is not used, so consumers can avoid GMOs if they choose.

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

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