wednesday 25 july
unauthorised and unlabelled
genetically engineered soya product found on
Environmental groups today revealed that a
soya product sold by the Czech company Santé,
in Poland, contained 4% genetically modified
soybeans. The product was bought in Poland in
February this year and sent for testing to
the US laboratory, Genetic ID, in Iowa.
According to Polish legislation, the
company Santé requires an authorisation
before putting products containing GMOs on
the Polish market and they must be labelled.
"This product was neither approved, nor
says Ela Priwiezincew, from the
Polish group, Socio-Ecological Union. She
"The Polish regulation is just a
paper tiger, since there is no Polish
laboratory undertaking routine testing of
food on the market for the presence of GMOs
and no authority has been designated
responsibility for enforcing the law. The
Trade Inspection Services rely on information
provided by the importer or producer about
the presence of GMOs in their products, but
can they be trusted?"
The Polish Environment Ministry claims
that the only companies that have been
granted permits for putting GMO products on
the market are: Monsanto, for GM soybeans
destined for animal feed; and the Polish
company Polgrunt for soy flour. Meanwhile,
the Main Sanitary Inspectorate has also been
issuing permits for importing GM products,
but claims that they are unauthorised to
provide information as to which companies
have received these permits.
and importers exploit the fact that the
regulations are not enforced, that officials
hide behind the legislation and that no one
is protecting the Polish consumer"
Worse is to come as Poland prepares to
join the European Union.
those GM products that are illegal in the
EU's common market, will have to taken off
the market at high cost. Who will pay the
price of recalling thousands of
, asks Iza Kruszewska, from
the NGO network ANPED, The Northern Alliance
for Sustainability, that supports
environmental groups in Eastern Europe.
As things stand at the moment, the EU may
bend to the wishes of the USA and
agri-business and abandon its precautionary
approach to regulating GMOs. Today in
Brussels, the European Commission is debating
proposals to allow for the contamination of
food by GMOs that have not been approved as
safe in Europe, in the course of preparing
new Regulations on Traceability/Labelling of
GMOs and Novel Food/Feed.
proposals for allowing non-approved GMOs into
our food chain, if passed, will make a
mockery of EU legislation that is intended to
protect us as consumers and our
, said Gill Lacroix,
Biotechnology Coordinator, Friends of the
"The European Commission, in
making these proposals, is putting the
commercial interests of the biotech industry
and the USA before the safety and wishes of
, added LaCroix.
EU Commissioner Byrne, responsible for
food safety, has been sent hundreds of
letters criticising these proposals, from
concerned citizens in the EU and in EU
Candidate countries. "As Candidates for EU
membership, we look to Brussels to maintain
the highest standards of food safety.
Instead, we find that the EU Commission may
be bowing to the pressures of big business.
The proposals, if passed, will undermine our
confidence in the EU's legislative process
with respect to the safety of our food",
Ela Priwiezincew, Socio-Ecological
Institute, Tel: +48 22 668 9792; e-mail:
Iza Kruszewska, ANPED, Tel: +44 20 8672
Gill Lacroix, Friends of the Earth Europe,
Tel: +32 2 542 0182; Mobile: +32 476 244 161