Labeling Transgenic Food Is the Law in Brazil. But Nobody Obeys It

Greenpeace protests against Bunge in Passo Fundo, Brazil The multinational food giant, Bunge, has 60 days to inform the public in Brazil what kind of transgenics it uses and the quantity of transgenics used in each of its food products. In a civil action suit, Brazilian federal judge Regis de Souza Araújo also ruled that the federal government should ensure that the company complies with the ruling.

According to a law passed in 2003, companies that use at least 1% of genetically modified organisms in their food products are required to state as such on their food labels. In this suit, the judge went so far as to say that Bunge should label its products no matter how much transgenic material they use.

Though this is a clear victory for environmentalists and consumer groups, many are still suspicious of the decision. Gabriela Vuolo, a coordinator for a Greenpeace campaign in Brazil, considers the suit a victory for the consumer, but has doubts about its implementation.

"Now we need to know how this decision is going to be implemented, because actually this law concerning labeling products was supposed to be implemented beginning in 2004. But today we still do not see one label in the supermarket that has information about transgenics, even with the 1% stipulation," said Vuolo.

Vuolo goes on to point out that besides the resistance of companies who do not want the labels, fearing consumers will reject their products, there is a lack of political will on the part of the government to actually enforce this law.

The state government of Paraná created a law about labeling last year, but complains that there is a lack of support on the part of the federal government to help with the enforcement.

"Anvisa (Agency for Sanitation) inspects only the products that are already there in the supermarket. All processes before that – the soy that leaves the farm, that goes through the silos, is processed and becomes a product – is under the Ministry of Agriculture. But the Ministry of Agriculture does not do the inspections, nor do they let anyone else.

The governor of Paraná, for example, asked for authorization from the Ministry of Agriculture to let his state do the inspections. But his request was denied. So you see, the federal government doesn't do anything, nor let anything be done.

"Soy cooking oil is the more serious issue because we use this in the kitchen almost every day. The majority of people do not know from where this oil comes. And most companies have not made the commitment not to use transgenics, as is the case with Bunge and Cargill, who make Soya, Liza and Primor, the biggest brands of oil in the market," said Vuolo.

Brasil de Fato

Tags:

Ads

You May Also Like

The Worse the Better

It’s important to note that by and large, Brazilians weren’t exactly enthralled by their ...

Brazil Congress to Inquire How President’s Chief of Staff Multiplied Fortune by 20

Not even five months, Brazil’s young government faces its first scandal. It involves presidential ...

Brasília’s Corruption Case Delayed. Main Witness Also Has Rap Sheet

Brazilian Durval Barbosa, the man who accused some 30 politicians and contractors of Brazilian ...

Brazilian Indians Invade Federal Site

Leaders of several indigenous peoples have occupied the headquarters of the National Health Foundation ...

UN: ‘Only Joint Effort Can Cure Brazil’s Crime Epidemy’

Leandro Despouy, special rapporteur for the United Nations (UN) Commission on Human Rights, said, ...

Brazil Keeps on Building Its Arab Economic Ties

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva received at the Presidential Palace, in Brazilian ...

Brazil Confident Bolivia Will Give In. Country Has No Other Market for Its Gas

The head of Brazil’s General Secretariat of the Presidency, Luiz Dulci, repeated what Brazilian President ...

Brazil, Once Again the World Cup Favorite

It’s the same old story for Brazil heading into next year’s World Cup finals: ...

Brazil’s Congress Clear Lula of Any Wrongdoing

A Brazilian congressional committee has absolved Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of ...

Germany Wants Closer Economic Ties with Brazil

Around 30 representatives from the state of Baden-Württemberg, one of Germany’s most important economic ...