Environmental group blocks soybean cargo
Environmental group Greenpeace said on Sunday their campaigners blocked the unloading of 17,000 tonnes of soybeans from the United States, saying the product was genetically engineered.
Activists occupied the unloading equipment of General Milling Corporation at a berth in Batangas, about 100 km (63 miles) south of Manila, unfurling the banner "USA Stop Dumping GMOs on Asia" on the hull of the cargo ship, the group said in a statement. The vessel was delivering its load to the largest soybean processing plant in the Philippines, it said.
The Philippines buys about 300,000 tonnes of soybeans and over one million tonnes of soymeal annually, mainly from the United States.
"Asia should not be a dumping ground for genetically contaminated products," said Beau Baconguis, genetic engineering campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia in the Philippines.
"We should not be forced to feed our children with food the rest of the world is increasingly rejecting."
Last October, Swiss healthcare group Novartis AG confirmed allegations from Greenpeace that some samples of baby food it sold in the Philippines contained genetically modified soybean. Novartis stressed the products were safe but added that it was seeking a new supplier.
Companies have been developing genetically modified crops to fight pests and plant diseases, but some consumers have baulked at eating them fearing they could lead to health problems.