Local women selling farm-fresh milk at the Fethiye Market on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.
Anti-GMO activists in Turkey lost a round last week when the country's Biosecurity Commission approved the import of 13 varieties of genetically modified corn meal. But they aren't going down without a fight.
"Don't say 'I didn't know' - ask!" is the rallying cry for a new Slow Food Istanbul campaign urging consumers to call up major Turkish food producers such as dairy manufacturers Pınar and Sütaş and chicken giant Beypiliç and ask: "Are you using GMO feed?"
Some 85,000 people had signed on to a Greenpeace campaign against the import of GMOs during the public-input period for the commission's decision. The environmental group charged that reports on the economic and social impacts of GMO products are not being properly vetted.
'Don't Consume Without Knowing!'
"The Biosecurity Committee didn't hear the 100,000 'No's and said 'Yes.' It approved the use of 13 kinds of GMO corn feed. But who is using it?" ask the postcards prepared by Slow Food Istanbul with the phone numbers of top dairy, egg, and chicken producers. "Don't consume without learning, without knowing... demand it written on the label!"
Dozens of Turkish NGOs focused on the environment, biodiversity, and human and animal health have been working together since the mid-2000s under the umbrella of the "No to GMOs Platform." The group opposes the import of GMO products due to uncertainties about their health effects and the damage they could do to the country's biological richness -- a heritage that goes back thousands of years and remains crucial to people's lives and livelihoods today.