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Greenpeace rains on EFB's parade (28/11/2007)

1.Greenpeace parody highlights conflict within Commission between industry profits and science
2.[Mock letter from] EuropaGMO
3.European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) - A few facts behind the myths
4.EFB's press release
5.Greenpeace appeals to EU to reject use of 2 new biotech corn products - Associated Press

EXTRACT: 'The EFB is a front for companies like Monsanto. This lobby group is obviously trying to mask commercial interest with dubious scientific credentials. We expect the EU Commission to see through the sham and treat them as an ordinary industry pressure group.'

NOTE: Seems Greenpeace spoilt the European Federation of Biotechnology's party today (Wednesday).

The pro-GM lobby group had planned to lobby the European Commission with a media stunt involving the handing over of an Open Letter to Commissioner Dimas in support of the approval of two GM maize crops Dimas doesn't want the Commission to licence.

The media were told (item 4) that the letter would be handed over at the EU Commission head quarters by a 'group of Europe's leading scientists' - for which read, such well known GM lobbyists as Klaus Ammann and Marc Van Montagu, President of the EFB.

Unfortunately for the EFB, Greenpeace showed up too with a parody lobbyists' letter (item 2) and a highly revealing fact sheet for the journalists present on the real character of the EFB (item 3).

Ammann and Van Montagu, we hear, were far from amused, and the resulting coverage lead more on the Greenpeace protest than the EFB's media stunt (item 5).

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1.Greenpeace parody highlights conflict within Commission between industry profits and science
PRESS RELEASE:

Brussels, 28 November 2007 -- Greenpeace is today staging a parody protest outside the EU Commission's Berlaymont headquarters, posing as lobbyists for companies that produce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and are trying to get them approved for sale and planting in Europe.

Over the coming days, European Commissioners are expected to vote on a proposal from Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas to refuse EU authorisation for two genetically modified varieties of maize, because they are toxic to certain butterfly species and pose a threat to other insects and soil health. The two new maize varieties are produced by agrochemical firms Syngenta and Pioneer/Dow, and are designed to kill insect pests.

Recent research has shown that toxin-producing GM plants can have a range of unexpected effects, from harming beneficial insects, to contaminating streams and poisoning aquatic life. These findings show that growing the GMOs for which the biotech industry is seeking EU authorisation could entail considerable environmental damage.

Current EU legislation requires the European Commission to apply the precautionary principle and take various aspects relevant to GMO plants into account, when deciding on GMO authorisations, such as new scientific evidence and social factors.

Public opinion polls constantly show that most Europeans oppose the presence of GMOs in the food chain and in the environment. A majority of EU member states have also repeatedly expressed opposition to GMOs. Yet, the European Commission constantly authorises them, with the keen backing of the US government.

'Behind our parody is a serious call for greater transparency. We are protesting about the disproportionate influence of the GMO industry in certain Commission departments. Industry lobby-groups such as the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) and EuropaBio, which represent the interests of agrochemical companies, have 'excellent working relations' with the Commission,' explained Marco Contiero of Greenpeace. 'We call on the European Commission to stop listening to the powerful biotech lobby and support Commissioner Dimas' call to refuse authorisation for the two pesticide-producing GM maize.'

As with all parodies, the performance by Greenpeace projects a dangerous truth. This is confirmed today by the public lobbying activity of the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB), a pro-GMO lobbying organisation promoting the use of biotechnology in Europe and defending GMO industry interests. Among its members are Monsanto, Bayer, the American Biotechnology Industry Organisation and the German Association of Biotech Companies: hardly a collection of independent scientists.

'The EFB is a front for companies like Monsanto. This lobby group is obviously trying to mask commercial interest with dubious scientific credentials. We expect the EU Commission to see through the sham and treat them as an ordinary industry pressure group,' added Contiero.

Contact information
Marco Contiero , Greenpeace European Unit, GE Policy Director
+32 2 2741906, Mobile: 0032-477777034.
For Photos, contact John Novis, Greenpeace International Picture Desk,
+44 207 865 8230
For Video, contact Maarten van Rouveroy, Greenpeace International video producer, 0031 646197322

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2.[Mock letter from] EuropaGMO

Dear President Barroso and fellow Members of the European Commission,

We in the GMO industry would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to those of you who are doing a fine job lobbying on our behalf within the Commission. We thank you for sweeping under the carpet pesky new scientific evidence that shows our GMOs to pose a threat and for promoting our interests while ignoring EU legislation on the environment. We should like to single out for special recognition Commissioners Mandelson, Verheugen and Fischer Boel, who have been most supportive in promoting GMOs in Europe, whistling to our tune and ignoring public opinion. Christmas hampers all round!

We must say that we are less pleased with Commissioner Dimas, whose insistence on invoking EU law and unearthing new research is proving most unhelpful. His forthcoming proposal that two GM maize varieties should not be authorised in Europe because of concerns for their environmental impact is most inconvenient. Who needs precautionary principles when you can get mutant maize that produces its own insecticide? Not us. This fuss about harms to butterflies and beneficial insects is namby-pamby nonsense. Aquatic organisms? Insects? Soil organisms? Zap 'em, that's what we say. And why not zap Mr Dimas too, while you're at it? Heís getting in our way.

We at Monsanto, Dow, Pioneer, BASF, Bayer and Syngenta are in the business of selling chemicals. As such, any regulation that interferes with our core business is most unwelcome, as you know. Thatís why we are so proud of the excellent working relationship we have built with the EU Commission, and count on you to dismiss Mr Dimasí proposal when you will come to vote on it, as well as any other scientific advice that casts doubt on the safety of GMOs. Our mutual friends in Washington will of course expect the same of you.

Itís quite simple: just stick your fingers in your ears and hum loudly whenever anyone - independent scientists, the E

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