Press release on soy and maize labelling


Brussels, May 18 1998 --- The EU Council of Ministers for Internal
Market votes today on a labelling scheme for genetically engineered
soy and maize that will exclude over 90 percent of products containing
GMOs. The labeling regulations cover soybeans from Monsanto and maize
from Novartis.
"This wretched labelling regulation protects the industry and not the
consumers and is hiding information rather than giving consumers a
choice. And it gives us no chance to avoid eating GE-food if we
choose", said Benedikt Haerlin, the Greenpeace spokesperson for
genetic engineering.
According to the proposal, only those products where the modified DNA
or proteins resulting from it can be detected in the final product
will have to be labelled as "produced from genetically modified
soya/maize". All additives will also be excluded by definition even
though the DNA can be detected in most of them. That means nearly all
products containing lecithin made out of genetically engineered soy
will not have to be labelled. Furthermore the council proposes to
explicitly to exempt all refined oils from soya and maize and maize
starch. "By means of these tricks between 95 and 98 percent of roughly
30.000 product items in the supermarkets that can contain GE soya will
not have to be labelled and the situation will be similar for maize",
said Haerlin.
Greenpeace is calling for clear and simple segregation to keep
conventional and genetically modified crops apart in all steps of the
production process. "Consumers have a right to chose, whether they
want to eat genetically modified food or not. Food producers should
know what their products are made of and tell us", said Haerlin.
Recent experience has shown that it can be done. The British Ministry
of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has compiled a list of sources of
non genetically modified soya in the USA and Canada, also the
Brazilian Embassy in Brussels provides a list of GMO free suppliers in
their country. A world leading soy-trader, Central Soya, and Pilstl of
Austria have offered and sold large quantities of GMO free soybeans.
"It is now up to retailers and food producers to choose whether they
want to cheat consumers by hiding behind the present law or provide
reliable information on all of their products", said Haerlin.
Greenpeace calls upon the European Commission, the Parliament and the
Council to replace the specific regulations on soybeans and maize as
soon as possible with general labelling provisions under the Novel
Food regulation that are based upon traceability and guarantee full
and honest consumer information.
More information:
Benedikt Haerlin in Berlin: +49-30-30 88 99 12 or mobile:
49-171-3569109 Mika Railo in Amsterdam: +31-20-5249 548
Note for editors:
Novartis Bt-Maize and Monsanto's Roundup ready soy were approved prior
to the Novel Food Regulation. Therefore a special regulation on the
labelling of these two varieties is required. The result of the
council's vote is expected this evening and it will need to be
accepted by Commissions.
Mika Railo
press officer
Greenpeace International
tel: +31-(0)20-5249 548
mobile: +31-(0)6- 535 04 721
fax: +31-20-5236 212

Ronnie Cummins/Pure Food Campaign/Save Organic Standards
860 Hwy 61
Little Marais, Mn. 55614
Tel. 218-226-4164
Fax 218-226-4157
To subscribe to the monthly electronic newsletter, Food Bytes, send an
email message to:
with the simple message:
subscribe pure-food-action

Organic Consumers Association (OCA)
6101 Cliff Estate Rd., Little Marais, Minnesota 55614
Activist or Media Inquiries: (218) 226-4164,  Fax: (218) 226-4157
Ronnie Cummins E-mail:

Save Organic Standards -- Break Corporate Control -- Genetically Enginered Food -- Toxic Food
Current Alert/Upcoming Events -- Food Slander-- Food Irradiation -- Mad Cow & Pig Disease
Cloning & Patenting -- rBGH -- Links -- Legislation

To subscribe to our free electronic newsletter, send an email to: with the simple message:
subscribe pure-food-action