GM quarantine in Romania (5/9/2007)

GM quarantine in Romania
Greenpeace, 5 September 2007

How's this for a creative and exciting example of direct action - it's a blockade but with a difference.

Earlier this morning in Romania, Greenpeace volunteers quarantined a whole island where GM soya crops are being grown, which is illegal under EU law. Vehicles leaving Braila island were hosed down by people wearing white biohazard suits to prevent genetic contamination spreading to the mainland. Even a donkey and cart were washed and made GM-free!

As well as soya, maize and sunflowers are also grown there and the harvest has just begun, so the campaigners in Romania wanted to stop any GM crops leaving the island and ending up in the food chain. Drivers were apparently warned that they couldn't leave the island without passing through the 'decontamination station' so there have been no reports of any soya-laden trucks trying to leave.

GM crops have popped up in Romania before and since the country joined the EU earlier this year, they're now illegal. There's also a flourishing black market in GM seeds and the widespread presence of GM food in Romanian markets. But now these illegal crops have been exposed in such an eye-catching manner, environmental standards officers on the scene have told the media that they will take care of the situation.

GM-spotters have been at work in France, painting a field of GM maize bright red to mark its position. This crop - with the snazzy name MON810 - is also illegal as neither the farmer nor the French government have notified the relevant authorities that it has been planted.

And apart from both being GM and illegal, what links these two agricultural incidents? Why, it's our old friend, Monsanto, developer of the varieties of soya and maize in question. Funny that.

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