Cardinal joins opposition to GM rice / GM contamination in Kuwait (15/2/2007)

1.Cardinal Rosales joins calls vs GMO rice
2.GMO Contamination from USA in Kuwait

EXTRACT: "Independent and environmentally concerned local and international scientists already warned that genetically modified crops and food products could be very harmful to the environment and to human beings," said the cardinal who was recently named as one of Pope Benedict XVI's economic advisers. (item 1)

1.Cardinal Rosales joins calls vs GMO rice
GMA News.tv, 14 February 2007

Manila: Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales has added his voice to the growing criticism of the government for allowing the sale of a genetically engineered US rice product in major supermarkets.

In a letter dated February 9 that was released Wednesday, Rosales asked President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to recall from the market Uncle Sam Texas Long Grain Rice, which is being distributed by Purefeeds Inc.

"We believe that we should strongly oppose any experiment or attempt to use genetically engineered food that is not safe or good to the environment," Rosales said.

"We should feed our people with food that are produced through natural means."

The cardinal also endorsed the petition initiated by the Ecology Desk of the Archdiocese of Manila and signed by 2,000 people raising several issues on the entry and sale of genetically engineered products in the Philippines.

In that petition, the Manila archdiocese asked the government to impose a moratorium on the importation of GM rice from the US, require the agriculture department to do mandatory testing of imported rice and urgently stop the propagation of genetically enhanced food products. It said the government should certify as an urgent bill the mandatory labeling of all imported, processed food products.

"As a Church institution we have a moral obligation to protect the interest of God's people and their inherent right to safe food and healthy environment.

"Independent and environmentally concerned local and international scientists already warned that genetically modified crops and food products could be very harmful to the environment and to human beings," said the cardinal who was recently named as one of Pope Benedict XVI's economic advisers.

"We therefore strongly endorse the petition and in addition request you to order the recall and stop the sale of all US rice contaminated with LL601 GE rice together with Uncle Sam Texas Long Grain Rice from all markets and grocery stores," added Rosales. - GMANews.TV


2.GMO Contamination from USA in Kuwait
Press Release

KUWAIT - February 7 - In a Press conference today, Greenpeace released test results which revealed traces of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs) (1) in various maize based food products imported from the USA to the Middle East, including Kuwait.

Consumers in the Middle East are likely to be eating GMO food, not tested for long term health impacts, without knowing it. The International organization calls for a ban on GMOs, or at least, for consumers to be given the right to choose by having GMO products labelled.

"Since labelling has been enforced in the EU, food companies have banned GMO ingredients from their products because European consumers refuse to buy GMO food. Unfortunately, GMO products opposed in Europe find their way to markets where consumers are either not aware or not told about the GMO content, in this case, the Middle East" said Arnaud Apoteker, Greenpeace's Genetic Engineering campaigner.

In December 2006 Greenpeace commissioned the testing of 35 products containing corn currently sold in supermarkets in Kuwait, UAE, and Qatar. 40% (14 of 35) of the tested samples revealed positive results for contamination with GMOs. All product testing was carried out by an accredited laboratory in Berne, Switzerland.

In Kuwait specifically, 3 out of 14 products tested (2) contained GMOs. As is the case in other GCC countries, none of the products that contained GMOs were labelled, as these countries do not require labelling of such products.

Earlier in 2006, Greenpeace had found US imported rice products contaminated with an unauthorized GMO rice variety in Gulf countries (3), as well as in more than 24 countries all over the world. Yesterday, Greenpeace launched a global report on the tremendous economic impacts that contamination of the world's rice supplies with illegal and unapproved varieties of GMO rice had on all stakeholders in the rice industry worldwide.

Greenpeace calls upon food retailers and relevant authorities in Kuwait to put measures in place to ban GMOs from the shelves or at a minimum give consumers the right to choose by labelling GMO products, as is required in more and more countries around the world.

Notes to Editor

Testing results, the Rice report, and more info can be found on the following websites www.greenpeace.org (English), www.greenpeace.org.lb (Arabic)

Notes to Editors:

(1) Genetic Engineering is a technique allowing the insertion of foreign genes into random positions in the DNA of a host, e.g. a plant or crop. These hosts are then subsequently screened for the desirable trait inserted, e.g. resistance to a chemical weed-killer. Genetic engineering breaks the natural boundaries that exist between species. Genetic engineering can manipulate genes from animals, plants, and even humans. No one knows what the long-term effects of GE organisms on the environment will be.

(2) Corn Meal (Aunt Jemima), Instant Corn Masamix (Maseca), Brand Tortilla Chips (Tostitos)

(3) Greenpeace tested five packages of US long grain rice June 2006. Testing showed that 4/5 packages (80%) showed contamination with LL601, a variety of rice that had not been approved for consumption anywhere in the world at that time.

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