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Greens seek detail of plan for rogue GE Corn

30 October 2000

Greens seek detail of screening plan for rogue GE corn

The Green Party is asking Health Minister Annette King to urgently clarify what screening measures the Government is introducing to prevent products containing illegal GE ingredients from entering New Zealand and to assure consumers their food is safe.

Last Thursday Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley called on the Government to introduce a random screening or testing regime to prevent a genetically engineered corn from the United States - which is only authorised as an animal feed - from entering New Zealand's food supply.

"The Green Party are pleased that some sort of testing regime is now being considered by the Government. However, as this corn is circulating widely, there is an urgent need to implement a robust system which will protect public health and the rights of consumers," said Ms Kedgley.

"Obviously we need a system to deal not only with this recent scare but with any other future incidents in which ingredients unfit for human consumption are mistakenly added to food products."

Ms Kedgley said that as genetically engineered crops spread around some parts of the world this type of scenario would occur more frequently and New Zealand needed to have suitable testing and monitoring measures in place to deal with them.

"The Ministry of Health and the Customs Department now have a huge job ahead of them to ensure this StarLink corn is not contained in imported food products," said Ms Kedgley.

"The Government must deal with this scare promptly. The Greens consider a system of random testing of imported food products to be the best way of providing consumers with the assurances they require and deserve," she said.

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6717, 025 207 9088 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 440 090

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