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Mexican GE Contamination Tells Real Story

21 April 2002

Confirmation by the Mexican Government that maize crops are massively contaminated with genetically engineered varieties, despite a four-year ban on GE maize, is a red flag for New Zealand, say the Greens.

A senior Government official announced at the biodiversity convention meeting in the Hague last Friday that Government tests have shown the contamination is the worst yet discovered, much worse than was initially suspected.

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said the news that 95 percent of tested sites were contaminated was devastating, especially because many varieties of maize originally came from Mexico.

"This proves what many of us have been saying for years - that there is no way to keep GE and non-GE crops separate. Once you release GE varieties, they will inevitably contaminate other farms, no matter how big the buffer zones are."

Minister of Conservation Sandra Lee was at the Hague meeting, and Ms Fitzsimons said she looked forward to hearing her report on the Mexican contamination scandal. "The Government's proposals for conditional release with buffer zones is simply absurd," she said.

"I also note that the Lifesciences Network are this Tuesday holding a day-long briefing session for the Journalists Training Organisation to discuss co-existence of GE and non-GE crops.

"The Lifesciences Network's PR line is that co-existence is "Mission Possible". I think they've got the wrong script - it's always been Mission Impossible.

"I expect that journalists will be asking the hard questions about the Mexican situation and its implications for New Zealand agriculture if the Government sticks to its decision to release GE crops from next October."

Ends

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