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GE scientists "slapped with a wet tea-towel"

30 June 2000

GE scientists "slapped with a wet tea-towel" - Kedgley

Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said scientists had received "a slap over the wrist with a wet tea-towel" after being caught doing unauthorised genetic engineering experiments, some of which involved human genes.

The Environmental Risk Management Authority released information today that 27 out of 28 research institutes were found to have been conducting unauthorised experiments.

"Some scientists have been blatantly flaunting the rules and yet they have received no kind of punishment or reprimand from ERMA. In fact they have effectively been given the green light to go ahead with their experiments," said Ms Kedgley. "You have to question whether there is any disincentive at all to make them think twice about doing it again."

"I'm particularly concerned that some of the unauthorised experiments involved the transfer of human genes into other organisms."

Ms Kedgley said she was shocked to discover no ongoing monitoring procedure had been put in place for genetic engineering experiments.

"The honesty box approach hasn't worked. It's essential that we set up a monitoring system to keep track of genetic engineering experiments in this country, because scientists have shown that they can't be trusted to do it themselves."

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 384 9123 or 025 270 9088 Gina Dempster, Press secretary: 04 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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