Another US GE contamination
Auckland 14 November: Reports of another major GE contamination in the US coincide with the deadline for MAF and HSNO submissions on the New Zealand Government’s plans for GE release.
Corn engineered to produce a protein for pharmaceutical drugs has contaminated 500,000 bushels of soybeans in the US. The protein is not for human consumption. The United States Department of Agriculture has quarantined the contaminated soybeans worth an estimated NZ $5.4m. The crop is expected to be destroyed.
“Again international evidence shows that GE crops can’t be contained. What will it take for our government to re-consider their GE release plans? It seems they are marching like zombies towards GE commercial release in October next year despite the US reeling form one GE disaster to another, it makes no sense,” said Steve Abel, Greenpeace New Zealand GE campaigner.
The contamination occurred because the soybean crop was planted in a field that was used to grow GE corn the year before. The US government is ordering biotechnology company Prodigene to destroy the soybeans. There are mixed reports on whether the contamination was discovered before the crop entered the food chain.
“No matter how good regulations may look on paper, if you allow GE release, not just pollen drift but human error and corporate sloppiness will inevitably lead to GE contamination.”
The scandal echoes the GE Starlink corn contamination a few years ago, when genetically engineered corn was made into food and sold, forcing a billion dollar recall by Aventis.
Greenpeace intends to submit all the information available on the new contamination to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry – just in time for today’s submission deadline.
“GE organisms have shown time and again that they are uncontrollable. New Zealanders don’t want them. It’s time the Government looked at the facts and listened to the people.”
Thousands of people will march for a GE free New Zealand this Saturday in Auckland.