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Damning EU Report Confirms Contamination Fears

31 May 2002

Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said the concerns of many New Zealanders had been confirmed by a new EU report showing organic farming will be shut down if genetically engineered crops are grown commercially.

The report which has been drawn up after two years of studies in Britain, France, Italy and Germany shows that contamination from GE crops makes co-existence of organic and GE production impossible. See... http://www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=299036

"This report is simply damning and confirms the fears held by environmentalists, farmers and ordinary people in New Zealand," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"It is particularly relevant to New Zealand as the Labour-Alliance Government is drawing up new legislation to permit 'conditional release' of genetically engineered organisms using, among other things, buffer zones designed to protect organic and GE-Free farmers. The report shows this is a waste of time.

"Even the Royal Commission said that co-existence of GE and organic crops would be possible only if the organic standard was downgraded to allow one per cent GE contamination. This report shows that the one per cent would eventually become two per cent which would become three...

"This is precisely why the Greens are taking such a strong line on this issue. The moratorium on release into our environment will end next year unless the Greens can stop it. This report shows how dangerous this would be."

The report was so controversial that top European Commission officials tried to stop it being made public and is a major embarrassment for Prime Minister Tony Blair who on Friday denounced GE opponents as using 'emotion to drive out reason'.

"This report shows that if only a tenth of a country or a region was in GE crops, keeping contamination at a level to allow organic farming to continue would be 'extremely difficult'," she said.

"In light of the increasing international evidence we would be absolutely crazy to lift our moratorium. Our GE-Free environment is becoming more precious by the day."

Ends


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