Organic Consumers Association

OCA
Homepage

Previous Page

Click here to print this page

Make a Donation!

JOIN THE OCA NETWORK!

Monsanto Moves to Force-Feed Europe Genetically Engineered Corn

MONSANTO TARGET'S EUROPE'S MAIZE

10 years of biotech crops fail to deliver benefits for consumers and
environment

MEDIA ADVISORY
Friends of the Earth Europe

January 10, 2006

Brussels (Belgium) January 10, 2006 ­ US-based biotech giant, Monsanto, is
aiming to genetically modify all of Europe's maize over the next 4 years,
reveals a new Friends of the Earth report released today. The report also
concludes that in the ten years since the introduction of genetically
modified (GM) foods in Europe, the biotech industry has failed to deliver
any benefits for consumers or the environment, and has not played any role
in solving hunger and poverty.

The Friends of the Earth report highlights that over the past 10 years
Monsanto and its trade bodies have consistently worked to weaken European
laws to protect consumers, the environment and farmers and that despite
overwhelming public rejection in Europe, Monsanto and the biotech industry
have an unacceptable influence over many parts of European food, research
and agriculture policy. [1]

The report reveals that in November 2005 Monsanto announced to its investors
that it sees Europe as a "Next Opportunity". It highlighted that in the four
years up to 2010 there is market potential to introduce 59 million hectares
of its Roundup Ready maize and 32 million hectares of its YieldGard
insect-resistant maize. In other words, it is targeting the whole of the
European continent's maize production. In addition, it is aiming to
introduce 1 million acres of its GM soybeans [2]. Monsanto has currently
permission to grow only one type of insect-resistant maize in the EU

However, despite Monsanto's efforts, the Friends of the Earth report reveals
that:

* There have been no new GM crops approved for cultivation in the EU since
1998, and despite 30 years of research and public money the industry has
only delivered two GM traits: herbicide tolerance and insect resistance.

* Commercial growing on any scale in the EU is still limited to just Spain,
and even there the number of GM events permitted has now been reduced to
just one.

* The number of countries banning GM products has increased over recent
years and the number of regions in Europe declaring themselves GM Free zones
has grown to 165, with 4500 smaller areas declaring themselves also GM free.
In November the Swiss voted in a referendum for a five year ban.

* Europeans continue to reject GM foods. European polls show that 70% of the
public do not want to eat GM foods, and all major food manufacturers and
retailers prohibit the use of GMOs in their products, in particular
Monsanto's GM soya.

* GM crops have failed to tackle hunger and poverty. Most GM crops are
destined for animal feed, and none have been introduced to address hunger
and poverty issues. GM crops in developing countries have been grown mainly
as export cash crops, sometimes at the expense of local food production.
Other developing countries, such as Indonesia and India, have experienced
substantial problems with Monsanto's GM crops, often leaving farmers heavily
indebted. Monsanto continues to introduce aggressive royalty initiatives in
South America to increase its profits.

Adrian Bebb, GM Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said:

"Monsanto's plans to take-over and genetically modify all maize production
in Europe should be ringing alarm bells for farmers and consumers. It is
crucial that Europe and its national Governments thwart Monsanto's plans to
control our food and countryside."

"Our report shows that in the ten years since genetically modified crops
were introduced we have seen crops fail in developing countries leaving poor
farmers destitute, we've seen an increase in the use of pesticides and we've
seen a small number of very big corporations buy up the world's seed
supply."

Paul de Clerck, Friends of the Earth Europe's corporate campaigner said:

"Monsanto has been in the driver's seat as the US, Brazil and other
countries developed their GM policies, and their influence has been obvious.
In Paraguay and Brazil Monsanto's GM products were grown even though they
were forbidden, and in Indonesia the company was reduced to bribing
government officials. Governments should stop serving the interests of big
companies such as Monsanto and put the interests of their citizens and the
environment first."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Adrian Bebb mobile +49 1609 490 1163
Paul de Clerck + 32-2-5426107

NOTES TO EDITORS:

[1] The executive summary of the report will be available on January 10
online at http://www.foei.org/publications/pdfs/gmcrops2006execsummary.pdf

The full report will be available upon request from ann@foei.org

A fact sheet on GM crops is online at:
http://www.foei.org/publications/pdfs/gmcrops2006factsheet.pdf

[2] Brett Begemann, Executive Vice President, Monsanto Bienniel US Investor
Day, 10 November 2005,
www.monsanto.com/monsanto/content/investor/financial/presentations/2005/11-1 0-05e.pdf

****************************************************************************
This GMO news service is underwritten by a generous grant from the Newman's
Own Foundation, edited by Thomas Wittman and is a production of the
Ecological Farming Association www.eco-farm.org
****************************************************************************