In light of Poland wishing to join the European Community and the current FMD crisis highlighting the potential import of cheap farm produce from Eastern Europe,

I thought this five year old article from the Soil Association Magazine April 1997 was worryingly revealing. Also one of those last articles I sent you mentioned Willie Cleave and Kevin Feakin involved in illegal exports of sheep to France, Germany, Holland and as far as Greece. If it is ever shown that FMD came in via a dirty lorry from Eastern Europe, one wonders what else could be illegally imported without any unit left to do the monitoring? Is anyone still trying to find out how FMD got into the UK?¤

Revealed : Unregulated Biotech Experiments in Eastern Europe

Widespread field experiments using genetically modified organisms are being carried out in Eastern Europe with no regulation at all, according to an alarming report produced for Greenpeace International by researcher, Iza Kruszewska.

In Poland, carp containing human genes have been swimming in open ponds since 1994. They appear to grow faster than normal carp but are deformed and have little resistamce to disease, according to the report. The potential effects on any of their likely predators, such as storks, otters or herons are unknown and apparently unmonitored. Transgeneic rabbits are also known to be in existance.

In other parts of Eastern Europe, a wide range of genetically modified crops are being grown, including potatos, tobacco, maize, rape and alfalfa in Hungary. Tobacco and alfalfa are also being grown in Bulgaria where their institute of Genetic Engineering receives 80% of its funding from foreign sources, half of which allegedly comes from De Montfort University, Leicester in the UK.

The report said that consumers are totally unaware of the experimentation and that environmentalists, organic farmers, church groups and other interested bodies are excluded from any debate on the issues surrounding genetic engineering. There is no agency which can control investment from foreign or private sources and Western companies appear to be exploiting the lack of regulation in order to carry out trials which their own countries would not allow.

The report concludes that organic agriculture would be the best way forward for many of the Eastern block countries. In Poland there are 2.7 million farms of an average size of 7.2 hectares which would be ideally suited to organic production.

Playing God - genetic Engineering of Foods in Central and Eastern Europe, Nov 1996 Greenpeace International