Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Germany bans Monsanto’s BT Corn

’Pay heed to people’s demand now, stop GM food’, Greenpeace urges political parties as Germany bans Monsanto’s BT Corn

New Delhi, 15 April 2009: Following the German government’s decision to ban Monsanto’s 810 BT Corn, Greenpeace India today urged all Indian political parties to take a similar pro-active stand against all GM food and pay heed to bio-safety concerns of millions of voters across the country. The ban on the hazardous 810 Corn variety was invoked under immense pre-election public pressure.

“This is a victory for the environment, for consumers and farmers who want to avoid GMOs as well as for independent science”, Said Alaxander Hissting, Sustainable Agriculture campaigner, Greenpeace Germany. “The ban sends a powerful message to biotech corporations like Monsanto which are aiming to take control of the global food chain: Hands of our maize, hands of our rice, hands of our food!”, said Alaxander.

Earlier, Ilse Aigner, the German Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection was quoted as "I have come to the conclusion that there are legitimate grounds to accept that genetically modified corn from the MON810 strain constitutes a danger to the environment" .The Minister based her decision on the safeguard clause from the EU law (Directive 2001/18) which allows member-states to use the precautionary principle and prohibit GMOs in the light of new evidence.
Germany is the sixth EU country to ban the cultivation of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) maize MON810. The other five countries which have already banned its planting: France, Greece, Austria, Hungary and, most recently, Luxembourg.
However, even as country after country gives the boot to Monsanto’s hazardous corn, the same in India is undergoing field trial in no less than 3 public sector institutions - the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, Rajendra Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Samastipur, Bihar and Mahatma Phule Krishi Vishwavidyalay(MPKV),Rahuri, Maharastra. The field trials have ignited intense protest in past few months across the country, leading to brutal police action, and arrest of hundreds of protesters.

Lauding the ban by Germany, Rajesh Krishnan, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner of Greenpeace India said, ‘Germany’s decision to ban the harmful BT Corn is truly commendable. In a true democracy, the voice of the mass is of utmost importance. Now, as we too prepare for the election, all political parties must ensure that the voice of the majority is heard and all GM food crops are banned as they violate people’s rights to safe food’.

It can be pointed out here that GM food crops have recently emerged as an election issue and several political parties including BJP, CPI, CPI(M), CPI-ML, and PMK have promised a strong stand against GM food in their manifestos. However Congress, the leader of the UPA Government has surprisingly maintained complete silence on the whole issue.

For more information, contact:

• Rajesh Krishnan, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner, Greenpeace India, email: , Mob: +91 9845650032

• Stella Paul, Media Officer, Greenpeace India, email: , Mob: +91 9845068125

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