PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO: THE CONSORTIUM JOINS THE “GMO-FREE” CAMPAIGN

  

Reggio Emilia, 23rd October 2007  -  The Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Consortium decided to join the "GMO-Free Italy and Europe” campaign.

 “Even if the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) clearly stated that, based on science, even in the event animal feed contained GMOs, no trace of vegetable transgenic DNA is found in milk, meat and eggs, hence in all animal products – the Consortium’s President, Giuseppe Alai, underlines - we will invite all producers to join the programme to use GMO-free animal feed, thereby adopting an overall production policy aimed at quitting the use of GM feed”.

 “Since no trace of GMOs is present in the milk used to produce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese – Mr. Alai continues – the reasons for choosing this policy lie exclusively in the Consortium’s commitment to protect the environment, which is reconfirmed daily by Parmigiano-Reggiano producers, as recent surveys by important environmentalists’ associations have proven”.

 “This choice, in any case – as the Consortium’s President continues – cannot give rise to unsustainable conditions from a productive point of view; this policy of using GMO-free feed must be respected, but upon condition that it does not become an unbearable burden for producers”.

 “This unescapable element – he adds – emphasises the political and economic aspect of the GMO issue and it opens the debate between the Emilia-Romagna region and the Italian and European political systems on the procurement of GMO-free feed. Indeed, if, on the one hand, we do not want the world agriculture to be blackmailed in the future by the guardians of the knowledge on the production of GM seeds, on the other, we would not like to be blackmailed by exclusive suppliers of GMO-free soy imposing prices by leveraging their position of strength.  “Thus it will be necessary to check the possibility of signing agreements with the regions of South America, which can assure the supply of GMO-free products, and of starting studies and research to produce vegetable proteins within the production area of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, thereby strengthening even more its close tie to the land where the forage used is grown”.

"We started a dialogue with some environmental associations to define the principles of our action. This choice is determined by a concrete and real care for the environment, but we cannot take up “extremist” positions. We must offer our farmers the tools to decide to use GMO-free soy seeds, but there must also be the possibility (which is far from being obvious) of finding these products on the market fairly easily”. “Should this not occur – Alai says – once again we would be forced to continue stigmatizing the behaviours of those who are wrongly using Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as a flag against the multinational companies that are selling soy seeds worldwide. Our product does not contain GMOs and it is unacceptable that a negative image is created by exploiting people’s sensitivity and emotiveness through the airing of unfounded theories and theses”. “Therefore – the President concludes – we need to work together openly and in a constructive way to give our producers the possibility of carrying out their work and of strengthening the respect for the environment, whilst maintaining the protection of consumers that is now totally guaranteed”.