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Greens welcome new seed-testing rules

Greens welcome new seed-testing rules

01 August 2002

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today cautiously welcomed the introduction of new protocols to test imported sweet corn and maize seeds, which come into force today.

Ms Fitzsimons said she was glad that MAF had decided to test every batch of corn and maize seed from GE-growing countries, instead of just one in three as they had proposed in the draft protocol.

"This is a win for all submitters, including the Green Party, who expressed major concerns about letting two-thirds of seed shipments into the country untested.

"Corngate has obviously alerted officials to the importance of a rigorous testing regime. It's particularly good to see that sample sizes for testing have been increased from 1400 to 3200 seeds."

Ms Fitzsimons said four areas should be tightened up in the new protocols:

* the contract between the seed companies and the testing laboratories should provide a separate set of all results to the Government as well as to the company involved. It is essential that Government not be dependent on just the results that the company chooses to give it.

* any maize, canola or soybean seed held over from last season should be tested before being planted

* the rules on what is a GE-Free growing country (and therefore exempt from seed-testing) need to be extremely rigorous and well enforced.

* small quantities of seed should either be tested comprehensively, or imported solely from GE-Free growing countries.

ENDS

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