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Greenpeace hinders BASF from planting risky GM-potato

Seven activists arrested others keep blocking

Nedre Vojakkala, The municipality of Haparanda, June 9th 2011 This morning Greenpeace activists tied themselves to the tractor of the chemical company BASF to stop them from planting their genetically modified potato (gm) called Amflora. The company's risky activity was escorted by police. Seven Greenpeace activists were arrested immediately but others made it to stop the tractor.

Greenpeace claims that the approval of Amflora is breaching EU law as the potato comprises an antibiotic resistance gene which can have a negative impact on the medical use of antibiotics in fighting diseases like tuberculosis. Greenpeace is calling the Swedish government to ban Amflora just like other countries already did and demands a withdrawal of the approval from the European Commission.

"The Commission rubberstamped the approval of risky Amflora and the Swedish government did nothing but watching. So if they do not act, we have to act", says Ludvig Tillman at Greenpeace Sweden.

Greenpeace activist were on the spot for three weeks already and blocked the building in which the potato was stored. After they were arrested new Greenpeace activists arrived and are now blocking the planting.

BASF claims that their potato is for industrial use only. But reality shows that Amflora last year received an approval from the European Commission for cultivation, processing, use as feed and even for use in food of up to 0.9%.  In other words: Amflora has the approval to contaminate the food chain.

Other European countries like Austria, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg have already banned the cultivation of Amflora on their territory. Hungary together with other Member States has even filed a law case against the European Commission to achieve the withdrawal of the approval.

"What we see here happening is that the profit interests of a company like BASF is ranked higher than the health interests of the European public who by large majority rejects the cultivation of GMOs," says Tillman concluding.

Spokesperson (on the location): Ludvig Tillman +46-702 71 64 37
GMO Campaigner: Akiko Frid +46-767 66 97 12
Media contact: Ã…sa Mendel-Hartvig +46-703 03 36 49

Images from the action here: