Support us


Our newsletter

Subscribe now

Take action

Send a letter

Get involved


Contact us

By email

By post

Tweets from our groups
You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2000 / europe_says_non_nein_no




Tuesday 7 March 2000


Europe says "Non", "Nein", "No" to GMO Pollution

Friends of the Earth launches major European campaign as Parliament debates the GMO Release Directive

As the European Parliament has its second reading on the GMO (genetically modified organisms) release directive, FoE Europe announced today its European-wide campaign to halt GMO pollution. The launch of the new campaign by 23 national FoEE groups [1] coincides with the publication of a new FoEE survey of GMO policies of leading European food manufacturers [2].

Reacting to requests from FoEE, the majority of companies stated that they source ingredients from GMO-free crops. The survey shows that most of the top food manufacturers are aware of opposition to GMOs throughout Europe and have been forced to take action. However, despite this, European consumers are still eating food made with GMO crops.

  • Many companies are not sourcing derivatives [3] such as oils from GMO-free crops. These derivatives don't have to be labelled under the EU’s GMO labelling regulations.
  • Food companies are still providing food containing dairy products or meat from animals fed on GMO animal feed.
  • Contamination of conventional food products has become a serious problem for all companies. Even where ingredients and derivatives are sourced from GMO-free crops, there is a risk of GMO pollution, either from cross-pollination in fields or from contamination at some point along the food production chain.
  • Some companies, such as NestlÈ, have different GMO policies from country to country.

While companies including Pepsi Cola, Coca Cola, Heinz, Mars, Danone, Campbell, Kellogg’s, Cadbury/Schweppes and Kraft/Jacobs/Suchard seem to be turning their backs on GMO ingredients, FoE fears that the consumer’s right to choose GM-free food will be under threat as long as European law does not prevent GMO pollution. This seems to supported by statements from companies such as McDonald's Europe which said "due to concerns expressed by consumers", it is aiming to "use ingredients from available non-GM sources", or Unilever which indicated it was moving to a new system in Europe where " hardly any GMO ingredients will be used".

"It is completely unclear how companies wanting to provide GMO-free food will actually do that", said Gill Lacroix of FoE Europe. "Unavoidable cross pollination from GM- to non-GM-plants will soon make it impossible to guarantee GMO-free food. It is up to the European Parliament now to insist on very strict European legislation which makes sure that our environment and food is not polluted by GMOs".

In particular, Friends of the Earth Europe is demanding the European Parliament ensures that the new GMO release directive takes care of citizens’ concerns throughout Europe by:

  • Preventing GM pollution by addressing the problem of cross pollination
  • Banning the use of antibiotic-resistant marker genes
  • Adopting strict civil liability provision covering damage to environment and human health.


For more info, contact Gill Lacroix at FoEE Brussels, T. 542.0182 or mobile 0476-244161.

Further information available at press conference or via FoE Europe (phone: 5420180, fax: 5375596):
a) List of the company statements
b) FoEE's position on the deliberate release directive


NOTES TO EDITORS (Friends of the Earth press release, March 7, 2000) :

[1] FoE member groups from the following countries are participating in the campaign:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, England/Wales and Northern Ireland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Ukraine. The campaign aims to safeguard for the people of Europe the right to choose GM-free food, to grow GM-free crops and to protect GM-free habitats.

[2] Friends of the Earth approached the top 26 companies from "The World's Top 100 Food and Drink Companies" (compiled by Seymour Cooke Food Research International). They were asked what their policy was on GM ingredients and derivatives (which don't contain DNA, such as oils made from GM crops and lecithin, an emulsifier made from soya). Four companies were removed because they said that either they either didn't supply food directly to consumers (they provided ingredients to food manufacturers) or they didn't supply to the European market.

[3] Derivatives don't contain DNA or protein but may have been manufactured from GMO crops, for example oils made from GMO crops. Derivatives which do not contain DNA or protein don’t have to be labelled under the EU GMO-labelling scheme.





Document Actions