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GE and organics not compatible

Seed contamination shows GE and organics not compatible

The revelation yesterday that genetically engineered pollen has contaminated crops and honey in England is irrefutable evidence that organics and genetic engineering cannot exist side by side, Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said from the 2020 organics conference in Auckland today.

"Since the birth of this technology, campaigners have warned genetically modified crops cannot be contained and scientists have asserted that this is rubbish. Now we see that British farmers have been unwittingly growing genetically engineered canola from contaminated seed for two years, and selling their crops as GE-free."

The canola seed, imported from Canada was believed to have been cross-pollinated by a genetically engineered crop growing in a nearby field. It is illegal to grow commercial genetically engineered crops in Britain.

Ms Fitzsimons said the latest evidence of contamination by genetically engineered pollen showed that growing genetically engineered crops in the country could spell the end for organics.

"We now have conclusive evidence that crops can be contaminated by genetically engineered pollen from fields grown nearby, and that honey can be contaminated by genetically engineered pollen. It is patently wrong to say that genetically engineered crops can be grown side by side with organic crops without contaminating them."

Ms Fitzsimons said the latest news completely justified the Green Party call for a halt on all outdoor field trials until the Royal Commission on genetic engineering reported back in a year.

"New Zealand has a unique opportunity, as an island leader in horticulture and agriculture, to go GE-free. More and more consumers all over the world want to buy organic food, and less and less want to consume genetically engineered food. If we worked together towards an organic nation by 2020, we would ensure a healthy and secure future for all New Zealanders."

Green MPs Jeanette Fitzsimons, Ian Ewen-Street and Sue Kedgley will all be speaking at the 2020 organics conference in Auckland. The conference starts today and finishes tomorrow.

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill, press secretary: 021 110 1133

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