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GE Blowflies Case Yet Another Cause For Caution

The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) has found cause for concern over containment of genetically engineered blowflies at Massey University.

"Details of ERMA's review of containment facilities for GE blowflies comes at the same time as news of 113 instances of unauthorised genetic research work," Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

"The number of problems identified so far with both approved and unapproved experiments shows the degree of mess the approval process was in under the previous government."

ERMA's reassessment of the blowfly work comes after similar reassessments of the NZ King Salmon GE salmon experiment in Marlborough and of GE canola field trials in Canterbury. All reassessments have questioned pre-ERMA approvals and raised containment dangers.

In respect to Masseys' blowflies an ERMA report dated May 8, 2000 says: "Reassessment of the approval to develop in containment genetically modified blowflies and the subsequent reasssesment application were made as a result of uncertainty as to the adequacy of the existing containment controls."

Ms Fitzsimons said: "The news today adds to the urgency for the Royal commission of inquiry into genetic engineering which is due to have its first meeting shortly."


Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 04 4706661, 025 586068 Paul Bensemann, Press Secretary: 04 470 6719, 021 214 2665

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