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MP refutes Fed Farmer biotechnology claims

Green Party MP Ian Ewen-Street said today he strongly disagreed with comments made by the vice-chairman of Federated Farmers, Tom Lambie, that biotechnology and organics are compatible side by side.

Mr Ewen-Street said he found it hard to understand where Mr Lambie was coming from, as there was substantial evidence from overseas that genetically engineered crops had contaminated other crops and already devastated at least one organic export industry.

"Non-genetically engineered crops have been contaminated by pollen from engineered crops transported by the wind," he said. "The British Soil Association has already revoked organic certification for one poor sod whose products were contaminated by genetically engineered pollen from a nearby farm."

"A good example of an organic industry which has been irrevocably harmed by the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops is the organic honey industry in Canada. Their export market collapsed when Europe refused to take their honey - because the bees had been feeding on pollen from genetically engineered canola," he said.

Mr Ewen-Street said genetically engineered crops and livestock could never be contained on a farm, because there was always the potential for pollen and animals to escape from an outdoor commercial operation.

"The organic market in the UK is grew from 390 million pounds to 500 million pounds in 1999, whereas farmers are turning their backs on genetically engineered crops in America because no-one wants to buy them.

"In terms of food exports, we could be sabotaging the bright future of organics by developing unsellable genetically engineered products, with the time-bomb potential to contaminate the organic crops," he said.

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