Organization: Greenpeace NL + Int'l
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 10:27:26 +0100
Subject: Biosafety Protocol historic step in fight against

Biosafety Protocol historic step in fight against environmental damage
from  Genetically Modified Organisms.

Montreal, January 28, 2000 --- Greenpeace today congratulated the 50 environment ministers and approximately 130 government delegations for adopting an international Biosafety Protocol to control the trade of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). "This is a historic step  towards protecting the environment and consumers from the dangers of  genetic engineering", said Benedikt Haerlin of Greenpeace. "The  protocol adopted here today lays the foundation for a stronger future  agreement which will eventually protect the environment from GMOs."

Greenpeace welcomes the fact that common sense is starting to prevail. "These minimum safety standards must be implemented immediately. We urge all countries to ratify this agreement so  that it can enter into force at the latest by the tenth anniversary of  the Rio Earth Summit in 2002," Haerlin said. "And until the protocol has come into force all exports of GMOs should be prohibited."

The Biosafety Protocol was finally adopted after a series of  difficult negotiations complicated by the obstruction of a small  minority of GMO-exporting countries, namely the USA,  Canada, Argentina and their associates Australia, Chile and  Uruguay. "We are happy that the US and Canadian-led Miami  Group failed in its efforts to force upon the world this untested  and risky technology." said Haerlin.
In a last minute effort to hold hostage the adoption of the entire Protocol, the Miami Group succeeded in erasing mandatory  labelling and information about the use of GMOs in food. "This  is a cowardly attempt to deceive consumers and importing  countries,"  Haerlin said. "We are confident that this smoke- screen strategy will fail." According to Greenpeace the future of  GMOs will depend not only on international and national  legislation, but upon consumers. "The market is falling for genetically engineered food.  People are avoiding this food like  they would mushrooms from Chernobyl," Haerlin explained, "We  are confident that consumers will win this battle in the end."

Kind regards,

For information please contact:
Greenpeace International Press Office
T: ++ 31 20 5249515
F: ++ 31 20 5236212

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