Farmers take animals to Milan McDonald's for GM protest

3 March 2001 - Agence France Presse March 3, 2001

The manager of a McDonald's restaurant in Milan was injured Saturday when farmers - along with a cow, a pig and two chickens - staged an impromptu protest over genetically-modified food products. The cow slipped on the restaurant floor, accidentally hitting the manager with a hoof, Ansa news agency reported. The unidentified farmers left the scene a few minutes later in a van.

McDonald's staff later reported the incident to the police, while the manager was taken to see a doctor. It was not immediately clear why the farmers targeted the US fast-food chain but GM food ingredients are widely on sale in North America.

They are banned or shunned in other countries, especially in western Europe, amid fears that the engineered crops could pose as yet unknown health risks. Genetically-modified organisms are crops to which genes have been added in a bid to improve yields or their resistance to pests. The most popular GM crops are corn, cotton, potatoes, soybeans and tomatoes.