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GE fungus leak breaks regulations

19 March 2013

GE fungus leak breaks regulations

The unapproved release of a genetically engineered fungus is massive wake up call to our environmental regulators, the Green Party said today.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has confirmed today that a genetically engineered (GE) fungus has been found outside of its approved containment facilities at Lincoln University’s campus.

“It’s absolutely not acceptable that almost two weeks after this breach the Ministry still doesn’t know how it occurred,” said Green Party genetic engineering spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“New Zealanders are constantly reassured that GE organisms are contained securely when used in research, but here we have another example of those restrictions not working.

“We deserve answers now about what has gone wrong here, and how the Ministry are going to assure it doesn’t happen again.

The Ministry confirmed that wild strains of this fungus are widely spread in the environment.

“There are questions to be asked about any risk of cross contamination into wild species.

"The question is, how far has this unacceptable GE fungus spread? Either by insects, soil or water from the unapproved facility,” said Mr Browning.

Lincoln University and Crown Research Agencies have previously been implicated or found responsible for other GE experiment breaches, with some trials closed down.

“Our clean, green brand that adds value to our agricultural exports, depends on our GE free status,” said Mr Browning.

ENDS

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