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Herald Poll Holds Out False Hope On GE Safety

27 June 2002

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today a Herald poll was offering false hope to people that realistic conditions could be imposed on the release of genetically engineered organisms.

"The poll asks who supports the release of GE organisms under " strict conditions". The question confuses field trials where conditions can be imposed (like the removal of flowers and seeds and complete removal of the crop after one season), and release which is about widespread farming."

"Unfortunately there are no conditions you can impose which will deal with the fundamental problem which is that GE organisms are unpredictable. You cannot take precautions against a risk that may be different for every variety."

Ms Fitzsimons said when the Government talks about conditions on release, it appears to be talking about buffer zones.

"The European Union knows that buffer zones won't work. A study leaked last month found that planting only one-tenth of land with GE crops would contaminate organic farming in the remaining 90 percent.

"Australia knows that buffer zones won't work too. The New South Wales Agriculture Minister Richard Amery admitted last week they are "unrealistic" and no-one has been able to show how they would work.

"It's only our Government which chooses to deliberately shut their eyes and ears to the mounting evidence. It's a shame that the Labour Party is putting a party line before practical realities."

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