Worldwide Update on Anti-GE Food Initiatives

Worldwide Update on Anti-GE Food Initiatives


26 June 2001

Dear friends and colleagues,

Thank you for the enthusiastic response we have received from many of you
regarding the list we sent out on May 16, 2001 on worldwide initiatives
against GMOs. Some things we were previously unaware of have been brought
to our attention. Based on your responses, we would like to update our list and
clarify a few points.

We were informed of important initiatives being taken in Bolivia and
Yugoslavia, which we have added here. We have also clarified the situations
of China, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia, as there was some concern over
the accuracy of the information we had included in the previous list. Also
note that information on the European Union, Brazil, Paraguay, and Thailand
has been updated. Finally, Sri Lanka has deferred the implementation of a
ban on the import of all GE foods until September 2001.

We were alerted to labeling laws and regulations in various countries, but
have not included these here as we have decided to focus this list more on
policy initiatives such as bans, moratoriums and ministerial orders. 28
countries to date have labeling requirements, and many other countries are
in the process of developing them.

Most of the information for this list was obtained from GENET's GE-free
Newsletter and various other sources including newspaper articles, as well
as personal communication. We hope you find this compilation useful.

With best wishes,

Lim Li Lin and Pauline Fan
Third World Network

228 Macalister Road
10400 Penang

Website: <>


Doc. TWN/Biosafety/2001/F



Algeria: Ban on the import, distribution, commercialization and utilization
of GE plant material, except for research purposes.

Egypt: Declared not to import GE wheat.

The draft Organization of African Unity (OAU) model biosafety law requires
that all GMOs, whether classified as food, crops, pharmaceuticals, or
commodities, and products thereof must be approved before import, transit,
contained use, release, and market release can take place. Any GMOs or
products thereof must be labeled as such and there is a strict liability
regime in place. This model law will serve as a model for national
implementation in African countries.


Sri Lanka: A ban on the import of all genetically modified foods, raw and
processed, including food additives, has been deferred until September 2001.

China: An article from the South China Morning Post, April 18, 2001,
mentioned a government ban on the commercial planting of GE rice, wheat,
corn, and soybean. However, there seems to be no official policy yet,
although these crops have not been approved for commercial cultivation. We
learned through personal communication that the government is, in fact, not
approving new GMO applications. On June 7, 2001, the government announced
new regulations on the production and use of GMOs in agriculture.
Chinese-foreign joint ventures and foreign owned companies must have
government approval to research or test GE products. All GMO products,
including food products, seeds, and animal feed must be labeled. The
government has the right to reject or destroy imports of GE products that do
not carry proper documentation.

Thailand: There has been a ban on the import of GE seeds for commercial
planting since 1999. In April 2001, there was a cabinet decision to stop all
field trials of GE crops, and to terminate ongoing field trials of
Monsanto's GE cotton and corn. However, there appears to be some opposition
to this decision from the Ministry of Agriculture. Labeling of food products
containing GMOs will be made compulsory by December, 2001.

Japan: Declared not to import GE wheat. Recent legislation has set zero
tolerance for imports containing unapproved GE products. Imports found to
contain unapproved GMOs will be destroyed or shipped back to origin.
Violators may incur penalties of up to one-year imprisonment and may be
fined. The legislation also seeks mandatory labeling for GMOs in food.

Philippines: The Philippine president recently announced at a press
conference that the government did not support GE trials, but it appears
that this has yet to be implemented administratively as a policy. The
community of Valencia called for a five-year moratorium on GE food and GE
crop trials and commercialization.


European Union: The European Union's de-facto moratorium on all new GMO
approvals is still in place. The EU is expected to approve strict
legislation on labeling and traceability; products thereof will have to be
labeled even if traces of GE material cannot be found in them. Regulations
on GE animal feed and products from animals fed with GMOs are also being

Yugoslavia: The Ministry of Agriculture has placed an order prohibiting the
free import of GMOs and products thereof without the official permission of
the Ministry. This is a temporary measure put in place until a national GMO
law enters into force.

Norway: Ban on the import of six GE crops and products that contain
antibiotic resistance genes - two GE vaccines, GE maize, tobacco, chicory,
and oil swede rape. 31 GE applications have been rejected to date.

Austria: Bans on three varieties of GE maize - Novartis, Monsanto and
AgrEvo. The Federal Institute for Less-favored and Mountainous Areas is
pressing for GE-free legislation and published a study on GE free zones,
initiatives in the States of Vorarlberg and Salzburg to ban GE trials.

Germany: Ban of Novartis Bt maize. The initiative "No GE on communal land"
of BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) launched activities in several German
communities to discuss and vote on the GE free resolutions. Applications
have been launched in: Bad Vilbel, Blauenstein, Lahr, Konstanz, Hannover,
Hamburg. Applications have been accepted in: Mynchen, Reutlingen,
Freidrichsdorf, Blomberg, Selingenstadt, Niddatal, Maintal, Riedstadt,
Adendorf, Schwebheim, Pinneberg, Schwabach, Lan-genhagen, Wyhe, Burgdorf,
Neetze, District Traunstein. Several Protestant regional church
organizations have banned GE crops from their land: Hannover, Hessen und
Nassau, Sachsen, Protestantic Church of Westfalen, Protestantic Church in
Berlin-Bradenburg, Church Province of Sachsen.

United Kingdom: The Church of England has refused permission for GE crop
trials on 60,000 hectares of its land, dozens of local authorities supply GE
free school lunches, while the House of Commons has banned GE food for its
catering. The Island of Jersey has banned GE crops.

Spain: The Basque government has imposed a five-year blanket moratorium for
GMOs. The provinces of Castilla-La Mancha and Baleares have banned GE food,
while Andaluc'a declared a five-year moratorium on GE crops trials and food.

Italy: Bans on GE crops in four regions - Tuscany, Molise, Lazio and Marche
- and 25 provinces, cities and communes, including Rome, Milan, Turin,
Brescia, and Genoa.

Greece: Ban on AgrEvo herbicide resistant rapeseed, moratorium on GE crop

France: Ban on PGS and AgrEvo herbicide resistant rapeseed.

Luxembourg: Ban on Novartis Bt maize.

Ban on Novartis Bt maize.


Bolivia: The Bolivian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and Rural
Development passed a Ministerial Resolution No 001, prohibiting the import
and use of any GMO in the country for a period of one year, effective
January 8, 2001.

Brazil: Ban on the planting of GE seeds. The states of Rio Grande do Sul and
Mato Grasso do Sul have declared their intentions to remain GE-free. 18
states have called upon the central government to block commercial GE crop
planting. There is an injunction that prevents Roundup Ready Soybean from
entering the country until proper labeling rules are in place.

Paraguay: Ban on the commercial planting of GE crops, specifically GE


Saudi Arabia: There is a ban on GE animal products, but it appears that this
ban does not extend to all GMOs. However, imported GE foods must be
accompanied by a health certificate. The government has also declared that
it will not import GE wheat.


United States of America: Maryland has banned GE fish. There are various
bills calling for moratoria on GE food (Vermont), and bans on GE wheat
(North Dakota and Montana) have been filed within the last year. Several
municipalities have declared moratoria on GE food (Burlington, Vermont),
bans of GE crops (City of Boulder, Colorado), or urged the federal
government to ban GE food (City and County of San Fransisco, California).


14 South Pacific countries - American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati,
Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Papua New
Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu - have recommended
a moratorium on the import of GMOs pending the implementation of appropriate
national risk assessment and risk management procedures.

Australia: Ban on GE rapeseed as weed in Tasmania, and a ban on commercial
planting of GE crops in Western Australia. Australian States have been given
the right to declare themselves GE free. Some communities (e.g.
Bondi/Sydney, West Wimmera Shire) have declared themselves GE free.

New Zealand: Trials of GE salmon have been blocked by the government. Some
local bodies in Auckland and Wellington have declared themselves GE free.

Third World Network

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