Greepeace blockades Swedish GM soy supplier

Greenpeace activists blockaded a storage facility for genetically-modified (GM) soy in Sweden Thursday, calling for a halt to its use as animal feed, the organisation said.

“We have welded shut the silo doors”, said Greenpeace GM spokesperson Kathleen McCaughey.

Greenpeace activists unfurled banners calling for a halt to genetic experiments on feed and erected signs around the Lantmännens facility in Norrköping, south eastern Sweden, which read “Warning contains GMO, genetically modified organisms.”

Police made a brief appearance at the scene, but took no action, Greenpeace said.

A dozen protesters remained at the plant while other protesters travelled to Lantmännen’s head office in Stockholm to meet the company’s managing director, Birgitta Johansson-Hedberg, who defended her company’s policy.

“Safety, freedom of choice and customer satisfaction dictate all Lantmännen’s decisions,” said Johansson-Hedberg to AFP via a spokesperson.

Lantmännen is one of Sweden’s largest importers of animal feed with turnover in 2005 of 28 billion Swedish kronor.

Kjell Larsson, a company spokesperson, told AFP that Lantmännen’s sale of GM animal feed complied with European and Swedish legislation.

“As a ‘dead’ product, soy feed does not pose a threat to the environment,” said Larsson to AFP.

“According to EU legislation products made from animals raised on GM feed are not required to be labelled as such,” said Larsson.

Larsson told AFP that as long as demand existed, they would supply GM feed to Swedish farmers.

Larsson said he was “convinced” demand for GM feed in Sweden would grow.

Lantmännen began importing feed containing varrying amounts of GM organisms in November 2005, and by March 2006 had imported three shipments amounting to 3,600 tonnes.

Lantmännen imported 180,000 tonnes of feed in 2005.

Earlier in March Greenpeace took samples from silos at the Norrköping plant. Analysis by GeneScan Analytics in Germany revealed that 95 percent of the samples were genetically modified.

Greenpeace said it would continue its campaign against the spread of genetically modified feed.

“We are lobbying the European Union to introduce legislation to ensure that meat and dairy products produced by animals raised on GM feed are marked accordingly”, said McCaughey.

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