RAVENNA, Italy, May 11, 2004 (ENS):
Greenpeace activists Monday found thousands of metric
tons of genetically engineered (GE) soya in warehouses
in the Italian port of Ravenna. Recent samples taken
from one of the warehouses have proven to be GE positive.
Activists are now preventing any GE soya from leaving
the facility and are taking further samples.
Early Monday 70 international Greenpeace activists
- aiming to make Ravenna a GE-Free zone and to end all
GE soya imports in Italy - entered the warehouse of
'Docks Cereali' company, looking for soy beans to test
for genetic modification.
Greenpeacer Paola Lipari said, "We wanted to find
either soya beans or soya meal to analyze to find out
what was GE. We formed two teams. The first went towards
the warehouse of Docks Cereali company and the second
"We found huge mountains of soya meal stocked
into the warehouse. Finally we found soya beans and
took samples from it carefully sealing them in plastic
bags. We reached the exit and most of it was taken by
the police, but still, some remained safe and we were
able to carry it outside. In the meanwhile the second
sample team also got samples."
Some activists cordoned off the area around the warehouses
by locking themselves together and others displayed
banners declaring "Europe says no to GMOs"
and "No to GE Food."
Italy currently imports 4.2 million metric tons of
soya annually for food and for animal feed. The port
of Ravenna accounts for an estimated 2 million tonnes
of these imports and so is the main entry point for
genetically engineered soya into Italy.
"Ravenna is the main entry point of GE contamination
into Italy," said Greenpeace Italian campaigner
Greenpeace and others fear that genetically engineered
crops and foods could trigger allergies and other health
problems. They worry that genetically engineered plants
could cross-pollinate plants without genetically modified
genes, making it very difficult to grow purely traditional
or organic produce.
"GE soya is being grown to feed the vast profits
of a few large farmers and a few global agri-business
companies such as Bunge, Cargill and Dreyfus. These
companies plus others control the seeds, the trucks,
the shipping and the processing of this GE soya,"
"They also control the import market and could
within one year supply non-GE for every import to Ravenna
and for all of Italy if they so choose," Ferrario
Monday's action follows another GE foods action Sunday
in Chioggia, Italy. The Greenpeace ship Esperanza intercepted
the Panama registered bulk carrier, "Keoyang Majesty"
carrying 40,000 thousand metric tons of genetically
engineered soya from Argentina.
They demanded an end to "the massive contamination
of the Italian food supply" from these GE imports.
Some of Greenpeace activists are still on the boat.
European resistance to genetically engineered crops
was partly responsible for Monsanto's decision Monday
to drop plans to market genetically modified wheat,
a decision Greenpeace declared victory over.
"This is a victory for the environment, farmers
and consumers," said Pat Venditti, Greenpeace GE
campaigner in Canada. "Strong rejection of GE wheat
from virtually every corner of the globe once again
showed the resistance to GE foods."
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2004. All Rights