Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Former USDA Official Warns Farmers Against GE Contamination

Former USDA Official Warns Farmers Against GE Contamination

The Former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture at the USDA is warning farmers to get involved with government policies that affect their industry, including fighting against the growing threat from GE contamination.

Katherine Merrigan served as deputy secretary at the USDA between 2009 and 2013, and made her warning as part of a keynote address to the annual Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association conference. [1]

Merrigan gave ten reasons why farmers should be engaged in government policy, including protecting their interests, their way of life and their democracy.

In what is a wake-up call for farmers in the US and overseas, she warned that it was increasingly difficult to preserve and segregate GE and non-GE seeds and said that coexistence is unachievable due to pollen drift, co-mingling and contamination. Unless farmers become involved in Governmental policies that affect their industries they will not be able to protect their GM-free production.

The warning on GM contamination comes just as Australian farmer Steve Marsh has had his first week in the Western Australian Supreme Court. [2] Steve Marsh is an organic farmer who found GM canola plants spread over much of his farm. With 70% of the farm being contaminated he lost his organic certification. The dispute followed the decision in 2010 by the state government of Western Australia to allow commercial cultivation of GM canola. As a result many farmers, including Marsh’s next-door neighbour, began growing GM canola.

New Zealand farmers face parallel threats from a number of quarters.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement could force member countries to grow GE crops and prohibit labelling of GE foods as a result of lobbying by US companies like Monsanto. Refusal to allow GE crops could even see the New Zealand government forced to pay compensation to the biotech industry through a disputes tribunal. [3]

Closer to home there is lobbying to force acceptance of low-level GE contamination on all farmers from the vice-president of Federated Farmers, Dr. William Rolleston. He has been a spokesman for the 'Life Science' industry and is opposed to maintaining food purity and GM- free production, arguing that coexistence of GE and conventional farming must allow for widespread ‘low-level’contamination. [4]

By contrast the government in Tasmania has adopted a GM- free policy to build its exports of clean safe food, and there are good reasons for New Zealand to follow that lead. [5]

“This is a warning for New Zealand farmers to protect their interests in the growing market for GE-free products around the world,” said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free NZ.

“It is an endorsement to defend the integrity of the New Zealand supply chain, just as forward thinking Councils in New Zealand are doing by adopting the precautionary approach toward genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their plans.” [6]

“This precaution is supported by USDA experts who now admit that GM-free production will be made impossible and that co-existence is just a myth. We have a global advantage in New Zealand’s GE-free status which we must protect.”

References:

[1] Dysfunctional DC matters: 10 reasons to stay engaged in Federal Agricultural Policy http://www.oeffa.org/conference2014.php[2] Steve Marsh Supreme Court Trial Daily Blog – February 2014 http://safefoodfoundation.org/steve-marsh-trial-daily-blog/

[3] The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement -Understanding the TPPA and what it means for New Zealand. http://www.cid.org.nz/assets/Resources/Fact-Sheets/Fact-Sheet-13-TPPA.pdf

[4] Morning Rural News, 14 February 2014 RADIO NZ http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/2585682 (2.36)

[5]

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-09/tasmania-gmo-ban-indefinite/5192788

http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Markets/Packaged-Facts-Non-GMO-foods-will-account-for-30-of-US-food-and-beverage-retail-sales-by-2017

[6] http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1402/S00107/local-regulation-of-outdoor-use-of-gmos-on-the-rise-in-nz.htm

ENDS:


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Two Dead, One Injured: Suspect Arrested After Ashburton Shooting

Police apprehended Russell John Tully just after 5pm this evening following the armed incident in Ashburton this morning.

Canterbury dog section and AOS apprehended Tully not far from Lake Hood. No shots were fired although Tully will be treated for minor dog-bite injuries.

Tully is now in custody at Ashburton Police Station. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

John Key Press Conference: Ashburton Shootings, Judith Collins Inquiry

Prime Minister John Key has delayed the release of Nationals’ fiscal policy in light of this morning’s shooting at a Work and Income office in Ashburton... Key also answered questions about Judith Collins, and confirmed that independent inquiry will be held with regard to allegations made against Collins. More>>

ALSO:

Internet MANA: Georgina Beyer Rocks The Waka

“There is now, and always will be, a range of views about many issues within our movement and members are free to express them, but Georgina’s views on Kim Dotcom are not shared by the MANA Movement leadership or the vast majority of MANA members and supporters around the country” states MANA Candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes. More>>

ALSO:

IGIS Update: Inquiry Into Release Of NZSIS Information

The Inquiry would be conducted in private and individuals would appear before her separately over a period of more than a week. She does not intend to name those summoned to give evidence until her report is published. “I can confirm that all persons summoned will be required to appear under oath...” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On John Key’s ‘Blame It On Judith’ Strategy

Right now, Prime Minister John Key seems intent on limiting the scope of any inquiry into his government’s dealings with Cameron Slater. The declared aim is to make that inquiry solely about Judith Collins’ behavior with respect to the Serious Fraud Office. More>>

ALSO:

Maori Council Lawyers' Statement: Supreme Court Decision On Maori Water Rights

“…the Supreme Court refused to give Pouakani people what they asked for, but may have given them something much, much better instead… the Supreme Court has questioned whether the Crown owns the River at all.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Debate, And The Collins Accusation

Debating is a peculiar discipline in that what you say is less important than how you’re saying it. Looking poised, being articulate and staying on topic generally wins the day – and on that score, Labour leader David Cunliffe won what turned out to be a bruising encounter with Prime Minister John Key last night on TVNZ. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Winston Peters' Latest Bout Of Immigrant Bashing

It is only one poll, but rather than cannibalising each other's vote, Colin Craig and Winston Peters do seem to be managing to find the room to co-exist... Few are questioning how Peters got to this happy place, and what it says about the mood of the electorate. More>>

ALSO:

More Immigration News: First People Trafficking Charges

The first people trafficking charges in New Zealand have been brought by Immigration New Zealand (INZ)... The defendants have been charged under the Crimes Act 1961 for arranging by deception the entry of 18 Indian nationals into New Zealand. More>>

Collins 'Misinterprets Media Reports': "Too Compromised To Remain Justice Minister"

Bizarre claims by Judith Collins this morning that she had been cleared of inappropriate behaviour by the Privacy Commissioner demonstrates she is too compromised to remain Justice Minister, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news