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GE moratorium should stay, Greens say

GE moratorium should stay, Greens say

The Green Party says the latest corn fiasco should cause the Government to rethink its strategy of lifting the GE moratorium and allowing GE crops to grow commercially.

"Despite the Government's defensive posture, the entire incident brings home to us the risks to our markets if we lift the moratorium and allow GE crops to grow commercially," Green Safe Food spokesperson Sue Kedgley said.

"Even a tiny amount of GE contamination can imperil our markets, which want supplies that are guaranteed GE-free. We would be crazy to risk losing premium markets like Europe and Japan because of contamination from GE crops.

"Clearly the market is very concerned about GE contamination of food. If the Government doesn't extend the moratorium, it is playing roulette with growers' earnings and the country's economic future.

"The latest incident also brings home to us how difficult it is to contain GE crops once they are in the environment, and makes a mockery of the Government's 'coexistence strategy' which says we can grow GE crops alongside conventional ones without risk of contamination."

Ms Kedgley said the Government had promised it would have the world's strictest regulatory regime in place before the moratorium was lifted. "This claim has been shown to be a nonsense.

"It has taken a Japanese pizza maker to discover corn contamination in New Zealand. Our regulatory and surveillance systems are simply not up to the job.

"We should also be buying GE-free seed only from countries with good biosecurity and seed testing facilities," she said.

The large number of enquiries to the Food Safety Authority about the latest scare shows that New Zealanders do not want to eat GE food, Ms Kedgley added.

"It shows the urgent need for a more robust labelling regime in New Zealand, so that consumers are able to avoid GE food. If a product contains GE ingredients, it must be declared on a label."

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