OCA Condemns WTO challenge

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Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 6:11PM :

In Reply to: EU Defies U.S. in Row over GMOs posted by Sadie from ? ( on Thursday, May 15, 2003 at 6:06PM :

MAY 14, 2003
12:34 PM

CONTACT: Organic Consumers Association

OCA Condemns Announcement of WTO challenge on Modified Foods

SAN FRANCISCO - May 14 - The Organic Consumers Association (OCA), a national grassroots network of over 500,000 people, condemns today's declaration of a US WTO challenge against the EU for their policy on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). On Tuesday US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick announced that a complaint had been filed with the WTO in Geneva. If the US and EU don't reach an agreement within 60 days, the issue will be resolved by an unelected panel of WTO trade bureaucrats.

In response to pressure from millions of concerned consumers, the EU has enacted strict labeling requirements for genetically modified (GM) foods and since 1998 has placed a moratorium on approving new GM varieties for planting or import.

The OCA believes that consumers in Europe and developing countries should have the right to refuse being used as guinea pigs. The current regulatory system in the US, which requires no long-term safety testing on GM foods, is one of corporate junk science.

Independent studies have shown that Genetically Modified crops pollute the environment and neighboring farms, increase pesticide use, and may lead to unforeseen health risks such as allergies and antibiotic resistance.

"Consumers worldwide are concerned about GM foods precisely because science has not shown them to be safe," stated Ronnie Cummins, OCA's National Director, "Even the British Medical Association has called for a moratorium on these foods until they can be adequately tested for their health impacts."

Polls in both the US and Europe consistently show that over 90% of the public want modified foods to be labeled so they can choose to avoid them. After the EU enacted labeling laws in 1999, most food companies chose to buy non-GM corn and soy rather than label their foods as containing modified ingredients.

"This WTO action is going to backfire on the biotech industry," added Cummins "Bullying Europe and the rest of the world on the GMO issue is going to speed up the collapse of agricultural biotechnology and eventually the WTO itself. "

-- Sadie
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