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Bio-Devastation Conference Actions Planned

GE Free NZ Press release 24.6.01

Global groundswell for GE-food labelling puts consumers at loggerheads with officials and industry

GE Free NZ supports actions around the world as biotech conference starts in San Diego.

A US, ABC News survey of 1,024 adults between June 13-17 2001 found a whopping 93% of the people surveyed indicated they want labels on genetically engineered foods. As ABC News stated, "Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare." Why are members of US Congress not supporting labelling of GE foods?

The survey also found that a slight majority of Americans (52%) feel genetically engineered foods are unsafe. Many of the public, unfortunately, are still unaware that no independent peer reviewed clinical trials of the feeding of GE foods has ever been carried out (despite US laws going back to 1958 stating that all novel foods should be thoroughly tested,a process that often takes 12-18 years). See www.biointegrity.org

The decision to allow GE foods onto the market was taken after US regulatory agencies proclaimed GE foods were 'substantially equivalent' to those already grown and improved by conventional breeding techniques. This claim has subsequently been shown to have been based on 'unsubstantiated assumptions' by a Royal Society of Canada report.

There is also cause for concern that New Zealand has adopted a joint position with the US, Canada and Australia in regard to future Codex Alimentarius decisions. These countries, some already genetically polluted, appear intent on leaning on the rest of the world by refusing to allow basic human rights in regard to world citizens right to information about what they are eating. Together they have apparently caused a delay on mandatory labelling until next years meeting and asked for a new objective, that of 'fairer practices in world trade'. Will they also prevent negative labelling-GM free, requiring organic producers and producers of conventional food to prove their products GE Free, thereby negating a threat to GE products.

The genetic manipulation of GE crops has allowed patents to be held, allowing GE crops to become company property, and causing controversial liability issues for farmers polluted by outcrossing. Regulatory agencies,alongside agrochemical and pharmaceutical companies, are appearing to corrupt legal arguments to prevent the peoples of the world both choosing food they wish to feed their families and protecting the environment successive generations will inherit.

Government promotion of GE soya and massive subsidies (70% of the value) have resulted in a 25% increase in the cultivation of GE soys and make a mockery of free trade. GM soya, shipped worldwide as animal feeds, results in milk, meat, fish,eggs and other products from animals which have not been tested or proven safe.

The minimisation of both health and environmental regulations, has led to the wholesale pollution of land, crops and resultant food supply. Contamination of the national food supply and maize seed supply, which could cause genetic pollution worldwide, by Starlink is the dire result. This corn variety (never approved for human consumption) has caused massive transgenic pollution of North America and now threatens the bio-integrity of the rest of the world.

In a decision in Oct 2000, the US approved the dumping of GE StarLink corn overseas (much to the relief of major US corn exporters such as Archer Daniel Midland). GE Free NZ believe it is imperative that all exported seeds are screened for transgenic contamination and that it is a US responsibility to do so before consignments of seeds for planting in the Southern hemisphere are shipped. In addition all countries must scrutinise the seed to avoid members of the unsuspecting public worldwide planting GE contaminated seeds this year.

GE Free NZ fully supports all of those people meeting at the Bio Devastation Conference in San Diego on June 25th, to protest about the callous takeover of the world's food supply by major multinationals. It is unconscionable that they continue use 'science' as a reason to force their genetically corrupted products onto the rest of the world after having already witnessed the adverse effects of transgenic pollution in the US. ENDS

BACKGROUND Anti-GE Groups Expect Thousands for San Diego Protests June 24-25 Activists, farmers, scientists from around the world oppose the biotechnology industry!

June 24th / 25th, 2001 the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) convention in San Diego, opens its doors to thousands of executives, lawyers, venture capitalists, and corporate scientists working to further their agenda of a patented and commodified future.

For more info contact Susie Lees Secretary GE Free NZ 03 546 7966

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