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Greens call for ban on cancer-linked pesticides

2 March 2006

Greens call for ban on cancer-linked pesticides

In a speech to the New Zealand Institute of Environmental Health in Dunedin this afternoon, Green Party Safe Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley is calling for a ban on the insecticide Endosulfan and other pesticides that have been linked with cancer.

"Endosulfan has been banned in 20 countries because of its link with breast cancer, its persistence in the environment and because it disrupts the endocrine system. It is astonishing that New Zealand permits it to be used on a raft of commonly eaten fruit and vegetables," Ms Kedgley says.

"Given the millions of dollars which are spent, both publicly and privately, on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in New Zealand, it seems bizarre that our Government won't take simple steps to reduce our exposure to carcinogens such as prohibiting the use of pesticides that are classified as carcinogenic.

"If we are serious about protecting food safety, we must ban the use of Endosulfan and other cancer-linked pesticides immediately, and I challenge the Government today to do so," Ms Kedgley says.

Ms Kedgley issued her call in a speech which criticised the Government and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority for their lax, narrow minded, complacent approach to food safety.

"The food safety authority seems to have a well-rehearsed public relations strategy to deal with any food safety scare other than microbial contamination - namely to downplay the issue, seek to pacify consumers and deny there is any public health risk.

"It seems preoccupied with protecting international trade and New Zealand's reputation as a trusted food producer, and tries to downplay any food safety risk that could damage our reputation.

"The only way to restore consumer confidence in the safety of food, and ensure the safety of New Zealand's food supply, is to end the dual remit of the food safety authority and set up an independent food safety agency, tasked exclusively with protecting New Zealand's food supply," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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