Curitiba, Brazil.– Greenpeace today called upon the representatives of the 132 member states of the International Biosafety Protocol to agree upon reliable and fair standards of identification and labeling of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs) in international shipments of food and feed products.
Earlier today Greenpeace also handed over to the Clearinghouse and Secretariat of the UN-Agreement a ground-breaking Contamination Report documenting 113 incidents of contamination, illegal releases and negative agricultural impacts of genetically engineered crops.
"What's at stake at this meeting is environmental and consumer safety," said Greenpeace International's GE expert Benedikt Haerlin from the meeting in Curitiba.
"This time it is imperative that the international community gets it right - it must ensure that genetically engineered food and feed will not ultimately be spread on to unsuspecting producers and consumers in importing countries. The majority of developing countries without national GMO legislation in place are dependent on the International Biosafety Protocol to protect them."
At the last set of negotiations of the Protocol in 2005, a powerful coalition of trade, agro-industry and science lobbyists in alliance with the USA, Canada and Argentina, who have not ratified the Protocol, successfully lobbied to prevent clear labeling rules and promoted meaningless "may contain GMOs" language instead.
Protocol members Brazil and New Zealand finally blocked a draft agreement on Article 18.2 (a) which provides for identification of international shipments of LMOs intended for feed, food and processing.
"Brazilian President Ignacio Lula has a golden opportunity at this meeting in his own country to show leadership on the Protocol," said Haerlin. "Lula and his cabinet must put the protection of biodiversity and the poor countries of the world above the demands and interests of the likes of the US and of Agro-industry giants like Monsanto and Cargill."
"Greenpeace and GeneWatch's GM Contamination Report may just cover the tip of the iceberg - contamination is spreading much faster than we can document it - but it is undeniable proof of the need for global bio-safety and labeling standards of GE crops," concluded Haerlin.