The Global Status of Genetically Engineered Crops: 10 years of continuing rejection


The Global Status of Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops: 10 years of continuing rejection

Amsterdam, 18 January 2007: A summary of global reaction against genetic engineering in
2006, released by Greenpeace today, provides solid evidence that resistance to genetically
engineered (GE) crops continues to grow among farmers, consumers and governments.
The Greenpeace summary was released hours before the expected release of an annual
report by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA),
a think-tank supported largely by the agrochemical industry.

"There is irrefutable evidence (1) that governments, farmers and consumers throughout the
world recognise that genetic engineering is unreliable, unviable or downright dangerous,"
said Jeremy Tager, campaigner for Greenpeace International, "Market reaction to the
recent rice contamination scandal was of near epidemic proportions; some countries are
banning GE altogether. Romania, for instance, which had 85,000 hectares planted with GE
soy in 2005, will drop to zero this year, in keeping with a new government policy banning
the cultivation of GE soy."

The most significant demonstration of GE rejection occurred in the aftermath of Bayer´s
LLRICE601 contamination scandal. In August 2006, the US government announced that
significant amounts of US long grain rice had been found to be contaminated with an
unapproved genetically engineered variety, LLRICE601; the news elicited strong reactions
from rice farmers and processors, as well as governments worldwide:

The Rice Producers of California and a major rice mill in the state, Sunwest Foods, have
called for a ban on any cultivation of GE rice (including field trials) in California.

Large sectors of the rice industry, including Ebro Puleva, the world´s largest rice
processor, committed to being GE-free.

Rice traders of two of the largest rice exporting countries, Thailand and Vietnam, have
signed an agreement that commits them to being GE-free, capitalizing on new market
opportunities that have opened up as a result of the contamination of US rice supplies with
Bayer´s GE rice.

The Chinese Biosafety Committee once again requested further data and assessment
on the safety of GE rice, thereby again delaying a decision about commercial approval,
even though the varieties have been under active consideration by the committee for over
two years.

The All India Rice Exporters´ Association formally requested that the Indian government
prohibit field trials of GE rice in basmati rice-growing states. Rice farmers in India burnt
down GE-rice test plots that could potentially contaminate their own fields.
Rakesh Tikait, national spokesperson for the Bharathiya Kisan Union, (BKU) one of the
largest farmers´ groups in India, was straightforward in his condemnation of GE, saying,
"The threat to farmers´ livelihoods in India is clear. Examples from across the country of Bt
cotton failures show that this technology is unsafe for humans and the environment, and
that it can neither be controlled nor regulated. We consider the threat serious enough to
warrant the destruction of test fields of GE rice to stop its introduction and protect

Chip Struckmeyer, a rice farmer from California, agreed, "US rice producers took a big hit
financially when rice was found to be contaminated with unapproved varieties. It´s clear our
customers don´t want genetically engineered rice. Why on earth would we plant it?"

"ISAAA might claim that genetic engineering has been a success, with consistent increases
in global acreage. But the global reaction to the Bayer rice contamination scandal of 2006
provides a sharp contrast to the rosy picture they´re painting. It is overwhelmingly evident
that the GE industry will not be able to convince consumers to eat GE rice, wheat,
aubergine, or anything else. With governments unwilling to allow it, farmers unwilling to
grow it and consumers unwilling to buy it, it is clear that genetic engineering has no place in
our future," concluded Tager.

Notes to Editor:
1. See `Global reaction against Genetic Engineering in 2006´,

For further information please contact:
Namrata Chowdhary, Greenpeace International Communications: +31 646 1973 27
Jeremy Tager, GE Campaigner Greenpeace International: + 31 646 2211 85

katharine mill
media officer – greenpeace european unit
199 rue belliard, 1040 brussels, belgium
t +32 (0)2 274 1903
m +32 (0)496 156229
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