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Conduct Inquiry Into Inadvertent Presence Issues

August 9, 2002

ERMA Should Conduct An Inquiry Into Inadvertent Presence Issues

The Environment Risk Management Authority should work with MAF Biosecurity to undertake a risk management review of the inadvertent presence of foreign genes in crops like sweet corn and maize, the Chairman of the Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston, said today.

“It’s clear we will continue to get false alarms and scare stories about possible “contamination” from GE as long as testing methods continue to improve and the authorities haven’t established what the real risks are.

“ERMA is responsible for managing environmental risk and should initiate a thorough public review of all the issues. This would determine whether the current zero tolerance approach is well-founded or a more practical standard will give appropriate levels of protection without leading to a result which threatens our valuable seed growing industry.

“ERMA should prepare an options paper which assesses the risks which are posed by inadvertent import or development of organisms which contain of foreign genes and then invite public submissions in response.

This issue needs to be determined by careful review of the scientific evidence and then ERMA will be able to fulfil its task of managing the real risks to our environment,” concluded Dr Rolleston.


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