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GE onions will only end in tears

GE onions will only end in tears

Crop & Food Research's application to field test GE onions in containment in fields in Canterbury, announced today, should be put on hold till the latest GE problems are sorted out, Green MP Sue Kedgley said today.

"All applications for GE field trials should be put on hold till the serious problems at ERMA are rectified and it is in a fit state to properly consider GE applications.

"The highly damning independent review of ERMA released last week showed that the Authority is in a parlous state, with poor oversight of conditions placed on GE approvals, poor accountability and skewed weighing of evidence.

Ms Kedgley said she was concerned to learn that most of the containment provisions in the onion application were in confidential appendices.

"It looks like the GE onions are just going to be growing in an ordinary field, without any special barriers. There will be some security measures but these are also confidential. I expect they will be designed to keep GE protestors out - not to keep GE organisms in.

"While GE onions do not pose the same risks to the environment as growing GE corn or canola, as onions do not flower in the first year, it is concerning that GE applications are still so focused on protecting the biotechnology industry and keeping the public in the dark on important aspects."

Ms Kedgley asked whether Crop & Food Research had actually established there was a market for GE onions. "What is wrong with ordinary onions? Do they really think consumers want to eat GE onions and, if not, what on earth is the point of growing food no one wants to eat?" she asked.

"It is one thing for GE contamination to happen by accident in Gisborne, but another thing entirely for a Crown Research Institute to deliberately undermine our strongest marketing advantage by preparing to grow GE food," Ms Kedgley said.

The Greens are urging the public to make submissions on the onion application, due August 20.

ENDS

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