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GE Contamination Answers Reveal Confusion

11 July 2002

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said she is even more sceptical whether the regulatory system can protect the public from GE accidents, after hearing today about the chaos surrounding claims of a contaminated GE corn shipment.

"It seems that there was widespread confusion in Government and bureaucratic circles in the summer of 2000/2001 about how to interpret statistical test results and even about what the Government's policy on contamination was - whether a 0.5 percent threshold was in place or not.

"It raises serious questions about whether the regulatory system is capable of dealing with the risks involved in lifting the moratorium next year.

"It's hard to believe, but true, that MAF is proposing to stop testing every batch of seed for GE contamination and only test every third batch. That proposal must be rejected absolutely."

Ms Fitzsimons said the most important thing now is to reassure farmers and the public that there is no remaining contamination.

"Testing should be done at the sites where the possibly contaminated corn was planted. The plants in the ground when the possible GE contamination was discovered should have tested back in 2000/2001.

"There are still a number of important questions raised in Nicky Hager's book which have not been answered."

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