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NZ's GE-Free status at risk

NZ's GE-Free status at risk

An application to field test genetically engineered broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and forage kale must not proceed, the Green Party says.

Health and Safe Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says it is clear that the purpose of the planned field tests at Lincoln is to prepare to grow the crops commercially.

The application, lodged with ERMA by Crop and Food Research, is for permission to field test genetically engineered insect resistant broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and forage Brassica (forage kale) for a period of 10 years.

"There is every chance of cross contamination, particularly with brassica, and we should not take this risk," Ms Kedgley says.

"Brassica is a common weed in New Zealand and if it is contaminated with an insecticide resistant strain, the impact could be enormous.

"Once the GE Genie is out of the bottle there is no way to put it back in. This is potentially very damaging to New Zealand's agricultural sector, and who will pay compensation if there are cases of accidental contamination? Will Crop and Food Research guarantee, as part of its application, that it will foot the bill for any compensation?

"New Zealanders have already made it clear - they do not want their food and especially fresh vegetables - genetically engineered. So what on earth is the point in creating genetically engineered vegetables when there is clearly no market for them?

"The application will be advertised in newspapers around the country tomorrow and I urge New Zealanders to put pen to paper and voice their concerns," Ms Kedgley says.

ends

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