Greenpeace Canada

Greenpeace Canada

June 01, 2005 10:32 ET

GE contamination incidents register launched today

First on-line worldwide register of GE contamination incidents launched today during Montreal Biosafety meeting Attention: Agriculture Editor, Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor MONTREAL/LONDON (UK)--(CCNMatthews - June 1, 2005) - GeneWatch UK and Greenpeace International launched the first on-line register of genetically engineered (GE) contamination incidents today (www.gmcontaminationregister.org). The searchable web site gives details of all the known cases of GE contamination of food, animal feed, seeds and wild plants that have taken place worldwide.

"No Government or international agency has yet established a public record of contamination incidents or of other problems associated with GE crops. Turning a blind eye is not good enough when dealing with GE technology because it involves the uncontrolled release of living organisms into the environment," said Dr. Sue Mayer, GeneWatch UK's Director. "We hope this register will form an important resource for citizens and regulators in the future."

Since their introduction in 1996, GE crops have contaminated our food, animal feed and seeds across the globe. 62 incidents of illegal or unlabelled GE contamination have been documented in 27 countries on five continents, and those are only the recorded incidents. The register also gives links to more information about the incidents and associated agricultural problems that arise from them.

"This register is being launched at the moment when governments are meeting in Montreal to decide on international liability regulations for GE crops. The sheer number of contamination incidents collected in the register to date makes it clear that unless states take action to set strict rules now, GE crop contamination will further spiral out of control," said Doreen Stabinsky, GE campaigner for Greenpeace International.

"As the recent case of Canadian GE canola contamination in Japan illustrates there is a need for governments to take immediate action," said Eric Darier, GE campaigner for Greenpeace Canada. "Not only has Canada not ratified the Biosafety Protocol but in addition its exports are contaminating the Japanese environment. This new tool will allow Canadians to see the damage that our unchecked GE exports are doing around the world."

Highlights from the register:
• 27 countries have experienced a total of 62 cases of GM contamination of food, animal feed, seeds or wild plants.
• The largest number of contamination incidents have taken place in the USA (11 incidents).
• Contamination from 'Starlink' maize was found in seven countries: USA; Canada; Egypt; Bolivia; Nicaragua; Japan; and South Korea.
• Illegal releases of GM crops into the environment or food chain have taken place in India (cotton), Brazil (cotton and soya), China (rice), Croatia (maize), Europe, Germany (papaya) and Thailand (cotton and papaya).
• Six cases of negative agricultural side-effects have been recorded including deformed cotton bolls and the emergence of herbicide tolerant 'super-weeds'.

For more information:
Dr. Sue Mayer, GeneWatch UK +44 1298 871898
Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace International +1 202 285 7398
Éric Darier, Greenpeace Canada GE campaigner, Cell: (514) 605 6497
Andrew Male, Greenpeace Canada Communications Coordinator, Cell: (416) 880-2757

www.gmcontaminationregister.org
IN: AGRICULTURE, ENVIRONMENT, POLITICS

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