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Clean Up The Food Chain Say Greens

02 July 2002

Safe Food spokesperson Sue Kedgley and pesticide campaigner and candidate Dr Meriel Watts today targeted New Zealand's high rates of food poisoning and pesticide residues at the Green's Safe Food launch.

"New Zealanders are twice as likely as other Western nations to get campylobacter food poisoning, as 10,000 unlucky people found out last year. And pesticide residues in our food are twice as high as in similar countries - 59 per cent of our food is contaminated with pesticides compared to 35 per cent in the US and 25 per cent in England," Sue Kedgley said.

"That's embarrassing for a country that relies on a perception that we produce safe and healthy food to sell our exports, and intolerable for domestic consumers."

"Children and the unborn foetus are much more vulnerable to pesticides than adults and they need special protection," said Dr Meriel Watts. "Yet we allow food to be sprayed with pesticides that are linked to foetal brain damage, damage to the nervous systems of children and cancer."

Under the Safe Food policy released today and available at the Green Party would:

* develop a national strategy to clean-up the food chain, and aim to reduce campylobacter and salmonella contamination in the food chain by 50 per cent over the next five years;

* reduce pesticide use by 50 per cent within five years, with annual monitoring and reports on progress;

* levy all toxic and hazardous substances, in proportion to their toxicity and persistence in the environment, and use the levy to fund organics research and the cleaning up of contaminated sites;

* set new Maximum Residue Limits for pesticides based on children's tolerances instead of adult's;

* phase out the routine feeding of antibiotics to animals which are not sick;

* introduce random testing of chicken meat to ensure it is not contaminated with antibiotic resistant bacteria;

* ban the release of GE organisms (including food crops) in New Zealand, label all imported GE food and work towards phasing all GE food out of the foodchain.

Ends

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