Genetically engineered food sold in the Philippines
publiziert: Donnerstag, 15. Mrz 2001 / 13:11 Uhr

Manila - Environmental watchdog Greenpeace on Thursday accused big local and multinational companies of selling processed food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the Philippines without fully informing consumers.

Greenpeace International said out of 30 consumer food products found in the country's supermarkets, 11 were found to contain GMOs in a December 19 test by an independent Hong Kong food-testing laboratory. The Philippines has no law on the labelling of genetically modified food products.

"The Filipino is unwittingly being force-fed genetically engineered food in a long-term experiment whose impacts on human health and the environment are still largely unknown," the group said in a statement. Greenpeace accused the food companies of "denying Filipino consumers their right to be fully informed about the products they are buying".

"It is shocking to know that these genetically engineered items are ending up in our food tables without the public's knowledge and consent," said Beau Baconguis, a Greenpeace campaigner against genetic engineering in Southeast Asia.

"Given the fact that scientists still do not know the long-term effects of releasing GMOs into our environment and people's diets, this situation is akin to playing Russian roulette with people's health," Baconguis said.

Among the products found containing GMOs were hot dogs, corned beef, crab cakes, soya drink, corn chips, infant formula and corn soup manufactured by several local and foreign firms. The companies were Swift Corporation, San Miguel Corporation, JAKA Food Processing Enterprises, Purefoods Corporation, Nestle, Unilever, PepsiCo and Abbott.

Greenpeace said that when officials of the food manufacturers were confronted about the use of GMOs in their products, they admitted "to having no knowledge or policy about using GMOs". "In Europe, these multinational companies speak in favour of consumer rights and have even removed GMOs from their products," said Jim Thomas of Greenpeace International.

"It is utterly despicable for them to have conveniently neglected to apply the same standard for Filipino consumers," he added. Greenpeace urged the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who has expressed reservations over testing of genetically modified crops, to take decisive and swift action to remove the GMOs from the country's food supply.

"A necessary step would be for the government to immediately implement a full and strict labelling system for ingredients derived from GMOs," said Von Hernandez, campaign director for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "Filipinos have a right to refuse being treated like guinea pigs in a massive experiment with potentially far-reaching and irreversible consequences," he said.

(la/dpa)

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