“Responsible” soy Don’t buy the lie
Immediate release: Tuesday 8 March 2011
“Responsible” soy Don’t buy the lie, green groups tell retailers
New scheme endorses the use of GM soy
London/Brussels/Amsterdam, Tuesday 8 March Supermarkets across the EU are being urged to boycott products containing soy labelled as “responsible” ahead of the introduction of a new EU-wide labelling scheme for soy. A coalition of environmental and civil society groups have exposed that, the proposed scheme will not stop the deforestation, pesticide poisoning and loss of livelihoods caused in soy growing countries by Europe’s imports of soy.
Soy, imported mostly from South America, is used widely in Europe as animal feed and to produce biofuels. It is responsible for a host of negative environmental and social impacts in the countries that grow it. The Round Table on Responsible Soy aims to lessen this damage but it will label genetically modified soy, grown on deforested land, as responsible. Last year, a poll found 2/3 of UK citizens did not want GM in animal feed.
Kirtana Chandrasekaran, food sovereignty programme co-ordinator, Friends of the Earth International, said: “The Roundtable on Responsible Soy criteria are so weak that they will allow massive soy plantations to expand at the expense of small-scale farmers, forests, and other important ecosystems.
“Massive spraying of pesticides will continue, with resulting damage to health and the environment.
“If supermarkets in Europe are serious about their green credentials they must take steps to move away from soy altogether and not hide behind labelling schemes.”
In South America GM soy has lead to huge increases in the use of pesticides, due to the emergence of weeds resistant to Roundup, the herbicide that the crop is engineered to tolerate. Reports of escalating rates of birth defects and cancers in GM Roundup Ready soy-producing areas gained scientific weight last year with the publication of research by Prof Andres Carrasco, lead researcher of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research, Argentina. Carrasco's team found that Roundup and glyphosate cause birth defects in frog and chicken embryos in doses much lower than those used in agricultural spraying.
While the voluntary RTRS label implies that members respect labour laws, RTRS member companies Nidera, Monsanto, and DuPont/Pioneer were recently found by Argentine authorities to be keeping workers in slave-like labour conditions. 
Claire Robinson of GMWatch said, "Supermarkets attempting to sell this lie of 'responsible' soy to the public are making a big mistake. It will be seen as an attempt to greenwash an unsustainable industry. We say to retailers and other soy buyers: 'Don't buy the lie.'"
The campaigners’ letter calls for support for the development of home grown animal feeds as alternatives to soy imports. Today, the European Parliament will vote on a report in the EU which questions the dependence on imported animal feed. The report calls on the EU to help farmers to produce more animal feed locally, which will “improve farmers’ revenues and address the key challenges agriculture is facing, such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity and soil fertility”.
Contact: Kirtana Chandrasekaran, Friends of the Earth UK
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7566 1669
Switchboard: +44 (0)20 7490 1555
Immediate release: Tuesday 8 March 2011
Notes for editors
 For the letter to retailers, please go to http://www.gmwatch.eu/images/pdf/pleaserejectrtrssoyletter.pdf
 For sources for the facts and figures in this press release, please go to http://www.gmwatch.eu/images/pdf/rtrsbackgrounderfinal.pdf
 According to a survey of 1,000 adults in the UK carried out by GFK NOP in June 2010:
- 41% don't know that animals are fed on GM animal feed
- 66% would like to buy meat and dairy from animals fed non-GM diet.
- 63% want supermarkets to only supply products with non-GM feed
- 89% want clear labelling of GM fed animals
- 72% would be willing to pay a premium (2p per kilo) for non GM feed
 “The EU protein deficit: What solution for a longstanding problem?” http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PE-450.760+01+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN