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GE-Contaminated Corn Puts NZ Reputation at Risk

Call for Resignation as GE-Contaminated Corn Puts NZ Reputation at Risk

New Zealand's exports and our international reputation have again been put at risk because of the failure by MAF to stop contaminated GM corn being imported and planted.

The contamination incident was discovered some 2 months ago but was publicised by MAF only yesterday. It demands both an investigation into the cause of the breakdown of border control, and for those responsible to resign.

"It is not good enough for MAF to offer well-meaning words as an answer to this most serious breakdown in regulation: someone must be held responsible," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"Plants growing in fields where the contaminated seed- batch has been planted must be subjected to leaf-disc tests to weed out the GE plants. Whole crops may need to be destroyed if contamination is found to be widespread." An investigation into the contamination is also needed to upgrade standards of border control and develop new fail-safe systems to prevent such problems in the future.

It may also be time for the government to ban imports of some seeds from countries where widepread GE contamination is now known to have occurred. A compensation fund is also needed so that the companies causing GE contamination are held responsible and so that it does not fall to the New Zealand public to foot the bill for the mistakes of others.

"Our premium export markets do not want GE contamination even at 'low levels', and neither do New Zealanders. This breach puts at risk our exports and international reputation for supplying clean, GE-Free foods", says Jon Carapiet.

"Any attempt by MAF to justify acceptance of such contamination would be tantamount to sabotaging our economic wellbeing as there is clear evidence that it is in the National interest for our production systems to remain clean and GM-free. New Zealanders expect nothing less, and MAF must now restore public confidence that they are up to the job".

ENDS

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