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Organics Study Highlights Huge GE-Free Advantage

28 June 2002

Green Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street today said new research showing a rapidly expanding domestic market for organic produce showed precisely why New Zealand should keep GE out of the environment.

The study from the Centre of Agriculture, Food and environment at Otago University recorded a 600 per cent overall increase in Dunedin's certified organic retail market with supermarkets taking over from niche stores as the main sellers of organic produce.

"What is happening in Dunedin mirrors what is happening in wider New Zealand and all around the world," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"People want to eat safe food that is guaranteed to be free of pesticides, agrichemicals and, increasingly, that they know contains no genetically engineered ingredients. New Zealand's clean green international image and our GE-Free status position us perfectly to tap into this soaring international and domestic demand."

Mr Ewen-Street said news that domestic organic sales had doubled from $32.5 million in 2000 to $71 million in March this year, and were predicted to reach $150 million in a few years, would further encourage New Zealand's farmers to make the switch to organic production.

"News like this perfectly underlines why the Greens are taking our position on keeping genetic engineering inside the lab and out of our environment and our food. Producing the world's cleanest, greenest, safest food is a massive opportunity for New Zealand and releasing GE into our food and environment would blow it."

Mr Ewen-Street said recent research from the EU found that organics and genetically engineered crops cannot co-exist and that if even 10 per cent of an area was planted in GE crops contamination of organic and conventional crops could not be avoided.

"It really is one or the other. We either cash in on our natural advantage and produce the safest food in the world or release GE and follow the pack in producing food that nobody wants."


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