10 November 2003


Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on EU member states to put European citizens before the business interests of the United States at a crucial meeting today. Europe's largest environmental network is protesting outside the European Council as a regulatory committee decides whether to approve a controversial genetically modified sweet corn, thereby breaking Europe's six year de facto moratorium.

Friends of the Earth protesting with a huge inflatable GMO MONSTER TOMATO in front of the European Council, Rond Point Schuman on Monday 10th November 2003.


Friends of the Earth is critical of the European Commission for proposing that the GM sweet corn, which has been modified to produce its own insecticide, should be allowed into shops in Europe. In particular the environmental group is concerned that: 
• The new labelling and traceability regulations are still not in place 
• The proposal bypasses the new GMO approval process which is more thorough and transparent and includes compulsory post-approval monitoring of health effects. 
• Avoids the new European Food Safety Authority that has to take into account, not only the short and long-term effects, but also effects on future generations, probable cumulative toxic effects and the effect on health sensitive consumers. 

Friends of the Earth Europe is accusing the European Commission of caving in to pressure from the US who in May this year started a formal complaint with the World Trade Organisation against Europe's moratorium. If the US wins then either Europe will have to face enormous financial penalties or allow more GM foods and crops. 

The protest action outside the European Council is the start of a European wide tour of an inflatable GMO ' monster' tomato. The tomato will travel through 15 European countries in the next 6 months (1). FoE aims to collect 100 000 signatures for a citizen's objections against the US case at the WTO. Among the first signatories of the citizen's objection are South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, French activist and farmer Jose Bové, Indian ecologist and researcher Dr. Vandana Shiva, director of the US based Public Citizen Lori Wallach and Member of European Parliament Dr. Caroline Lucas. The objection is available at 



(1) The Bite Back GM Monster Tomato will tour through Paris, Mont de Marsan, Toulouse, Madrid, Barcelona, Namur, Amsterdam, Arthus, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Budapest, Nyiregyhaza (Hungary), Zagreb, Vienna, Tbilisi (Georgia), Limassol (Cyprus), Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine) and a number of German cities in the next 6 months.

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