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

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

  • Govt Probed Over Health & Safety
  • Questions and Answers 28-05-15
  • Week in Parliament 22-05-15
  • Saturday Sitting
  • House Rises At Midnight
  • Telco Levy Bill Passes
  • Telco Levy Bill Completes First Reading
  • Social Housing Bill Passes Under Urgency

  • Labour Party: McCully Doesn’t Deny Bribe In Saudi Sheep Scandal

    “In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson ... More>>

    ALSO:

    Welfare: Closure Of Relationships Aotearoa

    The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) Chief Executive Lucy Sandford-Reed is concerned about the closure of a national service which provides a wide range of services to rural and urban communities throughout New Zealand. More>>

    ALSO:

    TPPA: University Of Auckland Warns Of Negative TPP Impact

    The University of Auckland May 20, 2015 University of Auckland Warns of Negative TPP Impact With the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation drawing to a close, the University of Auckland has expressed serious concerns about its potential implications. ... More>>

    NZ Flag: Flag Referendum Gets Hit Hard In New Poll

    The latest Campbell Live text poll confirms it is time for the Prime Minister to listen to the public and shelve his flag referendum, says the New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

    Gordon Campbell: The Government’s Belated Moves On Property Speculation

    Is it a property tax on capital gains or a capital gains tax on property? The Jesuitical distinctions in the government’s spin about its latest moves on property speculators are all about whether the government can claim that it jumped, or confess that it ... More>>

    Grant Robertson:
    Key Can’t Just Be Prime Minister For Parnell

    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In a ... More>>


    Labour Party: More Regional Jobs Go In Corrections Reshape

    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka ... More>>

    ALSO:

  • NZ First - Prison Job Losses to Send Money Offshore
  • TPPA: ‘Team Obama’ Regroups On Fast Track, Still Not Deliverable

    ‘After yesterday’s stinging and unexpected defeat for the Obama administration’s attempt to advance Fast Track legislation in the US Senate, Senate leaders have worked up a compromise they think will get them past this blockage’, according to Auckland ... More>>

    NZ Government: 5,500 More Doctors And Nurses In Our Hospitals

    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a record number of doctors and nurses are working in District Health Boards across the country. More>>

    Controller and Auditor General: Katherine Rich Conflict of Interest Decision

    We are writing to you about a matter that has been raised with us by members of the public. More>>

    ALSO:

    Budget 2015: Andrew Little On The 2015 Budget

    Speaking to the Chamber of Commerce, the Labour opposition leader attacked the government’s approach to economic issues facing New Zealand. He said they have been “more than reckless in their complacency” and “the next week’s budget will do nothing ... More>>

    Defence Force: NZDF Building Partner Capacity Mission Personnel In Iraq

    NZDF Building Partner Capacity Mission Personnel in Iraq The New Zealand Defence Force Building Partner Capacity training mission contingent is in place at Taji Military Complex in Iraq. The Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating says the ... More>>

    PM Press Conference: ACC Levy Cuts Announced

    In a press conference this afternoon in Wellington, ACC Minister Nikki Kaye proposed $500 million worth of ACC levy cuts. More>>

    Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

    Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news