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Greens welcome APEC's claimed GE-free status

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today welcomed the claim that formal APEC banquets were genetic engineering-free, but asked why only APEC was accorded such "GE-free" status.

"For the past year the Government has been saying it can do little to determine what supermarket food is or is not genetically engineered," Ms Fitzsimons said. "Labels are still some way off and we don't know yet exactly what form GE food labelling will take.

"Now when it comes to VIPs it seems anything is possible."

APEC catering co-ordinator David Williams is reported to have said some overseas delegations had asked about the genetic engineering status of the food and that he had ensured banquets were free of GE ingredients.

"It proves that New Zealand food can be GE-free when there's an official will for it to be," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"But the APEC enquiries also say a lot about the loss of New Zealand's clean, green image and the international concern about genetic engineering," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"It is yet another signal to the Government that it should be investing in organic agriculture, in which international demand exceeds supply, rather than continuing to pour millions of dollars into genetic engineering field trials and laboratory tests, for which there is an uncertain future.

"The sooner there is a Royal commission of enquiry into genetic engineering, including a benefit-evaluation exercise, the better."


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