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New GE Legislation Spells Doom For Organic Food

–22 May 2002


New GE Legislation Spells Doom For Future Of Organic Food

GE-Free NZ (in food and environment) reject the government's claims that amendments to the HSNO act reflect the Royal Commission's findings. One of the main Commission recommendations- to preserve our opportunities - is being abandoned, at least in terms
of preserving the existence of organic food.

The new legislation is about to get its final reading in Parliament and is likely to enter law within weeks. But if passed, it could also signal the end for the New Zealand organics industry. New evidence from Europe shows that organic production will become
contaminated when GE crops are introduced. Already Crop and Food representatives have said organic standards should accept up to 1% GE so that GE crops can be introduced.

" Forcing all consumers to accept GE contamination, even in organic food, is cutting off that option for New Zealand, and denying basic rights for people to choose what we eat," said spokesperson Jon Carapiet.

"The government support for GE in the open environment is shown by their decision to drop the moratorium on GE release next year. But we are seeing in Mexico, Canada, and Europe that the two types of plants cannot co-exist in the open environment", said Mr Carapiet.

New Zealand's opportunity to service the multi-billion dollar international market for organics is being threatened, but it will not be lost without a fight.

" The election is an important time for people to decide what kind of future we want. Clearly the evidence is growing that co-existence of GE and non-GE is not possible... it's an all-or-nothing scenario," said Mr Carapiet.

"Do we want to give up the organic option - yes or no?. The government's policy is taking us steadily down that path where GE-Free and organic choices will be lost forever. People will resist." said Jon.

Already the grocery industry has said labelling foods GE-Free is not possible without misleading people because GE contamination is so widespread. They estimate it could take 4 years before supplies guaranteed GE-free will be secure.

" That will be too late. The public are not going to sit back and let the one option we want (for GE-free food) to be sacrificed. We want the GE cows experimentation to be referred to the Bio Ethics Council. We want Labour to change their policy on releases by backing a 5-year moratorium at home and overseas. That is the message people will be asked to
use their vote to support," said Mr Carapiet.

ENDS

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