September 24, 2007

 

Brazil court tells Bunge, Cargill to label GM soyoil

 

 

Bunge Ltd. (BG) and Cargill must now include information about genetically modified soy on all soyoil made from transgenic soy, a civil court in Sao Paulo said Thursday (September 20).

 

"Consumers have the right to the correct information about the products, and their ingredients, sold in the marketplace...especially products that are genetically modified," the court wrote in its decision.

 

The court interpreted a 2005 law that stated food items containing transgenic ingredients must be labelled as such.

 

The case was brought to the court by Greenpeace in October 2005.

 

But Adalgiso Telles, Bunge's director of corporate communications, told Dow Jones Newswires late Thursday that "Bunge is absolutely abiding by Brazil's biosafety law."

 

Soyoil contains no proteins, and that fact means that fewer than 1 percent of its ingredients are transgenic, he said.

 

Under the country's bio-safety law, passed in 2005, any food item with 1 percent or more transgenic food ingredients must be labelled as such.

 

Telles said Bunge hadn't received official word from the court yet, but the company plans to appeal the decision.

 

Cargill was unavailable for comment.

 

Bunge and Cargill are two of Brazil's top makers of soy oil, which is used as a cooking oil. Bunge manufactures the local Soya brand, and Cargill produces the Liza brand.

 

"This is a huge victory for Brazilians," said Gabriela Vuolo, Greenpeace coordinator in Brazil.

 

"The court ruling gives consumers access to truth in labelling. It's shameful that the courts have to force these companies to abide by the law," Vuolo said.

 

Telles said Greenpeace's legal dispute is just part of its larger anti-GMO soy campaign.

 

About half of Brazil's soy crop is transgenic.

 

Foods containing transgenic foods must have a triangle with the letter T in the middle as a symbol for transgenic contents.

 

Bunge and Cargill have 30 days to add the symbol to their soyoil product labels.

 

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