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Lessons to be learnt from Pacific Seeds incident

GE Free New Zealand
In Food And Environment, Inc.

PRESS RELEASE – 20 December 2002

GE Free New Zealand Press Release

Urgent lessons to be learnt from independent review of Pacific Seeds incident.
Government decision to 'proceed with caution' exposes New Zealand to yet more contamination.

An independent review shows that there are urgent lessons to be learnt from the GE maize contamination caused by the Pacific Seeds incident. The confusion and operational mismanagement that followed the findings of contamination show there are inappropriate regimes in place to ensure contamination is swiftly identified, and dealt with accordingly.

" We have been asking MAF and the Ministry of Health for months what their response would be if a more serious GE contamination incident occurs, and have not been provided with any satisfactory answers to date," said Jon Carapiet of GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment. "If pharmaceuticals or vaccines are the next thing to contaminate our food supply as recently happened in the US, will we know?"

Professor McGregor, who carried out the review was reported as saying some findings needed addressing as a matter of urgency as future incidents were likely to be far more serious.

"We support the Greens calls for New Zealand to stop importing potentially contaminated seed and to seek to establish a trading network for certified GE-free seed," said Jon Carapiet. “The Government decision to 'proceed with caution' will expose New Zealand to yet more contamination of this type if the moratorium is lifted since the only way of avoiding GE contaminated seed is not to grow or import it in the first place.”

"How can the government say we have the best standards in the world when first Corngate and then this contamination occurred. Further evidence of mismanagement may well be uncovered during the Parliamentary Select Committee investigation into Corngate," said Jon Carapiet.

More information Jon Carapiet 09 815 3370

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