Greenpeace today prevented a 20,000 tonne shipment of genetically engineered (GE) soya from Argentina from entering the port of Aarhus, in Denmark, calling on European Agricultural ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday to guarantee the segregation and labelling of GE animal feed imports to Europe.

Greenpeace volunteers boarded the bulk carrier from the flagship MV Greenpeace and positioned themselves on the anchor chain of the cargo vessel preventing further movement.

Currently there is no European Union regulation to label GE animal feed or meat and dairy products derived from animals fed on GE feed. A draft ‘Novel Feed Regulation’ requiring labelling of GE feed will be proposed by the EU Commission in the coming months, but its approval and enforcement is expected to take two more years – too late for the next export season to Europe starting in November 2001.

“Across Europe we are now witnessing an increasing number of food producers and retailers refusing GE animal feed. Their efforts are seriously hampered by the lack of EU labelling rules. Enormous quantities of GE animal feed imported from Argentina and the USA continue to sneak into the food chain despite the fact that consumers want to avoid GE food,” said Dan Hindsgaul, Genetic Engineering Campaigner for Greenpeace, on board of the MV Greenpeace ship.

Denmark controls some 20 per cent of the world market in pork meat and exports most of its food production. It hosts both Europe’s largest pork meat company, Danish Crown AmbA (1), and Europe’s biggest dairy company, Arla Foods amba (2). It is also the third largest importer of soya from Argentina (3), where some 90 per cent of this year’s harvest is GE. Denmark imports annually more than one million tonnes of GE animal feed.

“The present void in EU regulation on GE animal feed is completely unacceptable and harms consumers, farmers and the environment. A strong signal from the EU that segregation and labelling of GE feed will be mandatory from next autumn will provide farmers in Argentina and the US an incentive to segregate GE grains from non-GE and grow non-GE crops,” added Dan Hindsgaul.

Dan Hindsgaul, Greenpeace Genetic Engineering Campaigner, on board the MV Greenpeace, Tel: +45 28109021 or +45 22723863; Greenpeace European Unit, Brussels, Brigid Gavin, Tel: +32 495693710; Lorenzo Consoli, Media Officer, Tel: +32 496 122112;Greenpeace International: Lorenz Petersen, GE campaigner, Tel: +49 177 3494844; Teresa Merilainen, Media Officer, Tel: +31 625031001.