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Natural Law Party On GE Food And Organisms

Natural Law Party
PO Box 589, Orewa, Auckland
Tel: (09) 426 4563 Fax: (09) 426 1254 E-mail: nlp@natlaw.org.nz


MEDIA RELEASE

Orewa. November 19, 1999


A Natural Law Party government would place a ban on the distribution and sale of genetically engineered food and a moratorium on the release of all genetically modified organisms, says the party's leader, Mr Bryan Lee.

"It would do this in the interests of public health and as the only responsible course to follow given the huge and largely unmanageable risks that are created by the activities of the multinational companies engaged in genetic engineering," Mr Lee said.

"Over the past three years there has been an explosion in the production and distribution of genetically engineered food. The industry has claimed that what it is doing is similar to what nature does with crossbreeding.

"But natural crossbreeding only occurs between like species, whereas the biotech industry intentionally crosses boundaries put in place by nature," Mr Lee said. "The DNA of an insect is implanted in a potato and that of a flounder in a tomato.

"And where natural evolution of plants, insects and animals can take millions of years, the biotech industry's products appear almost instantaneously by comparison. Nature works in a holistic and unhurried way on the basis of complete knowledge. The biotech industry acts in a partial and precipitate way, divorced from the context of nature's full functioning and without nature's prodigious capability to provide checks and balances that ensure safety and viability," Mr Lee said.

"In New Zealand, at the very least, all food containing genetically modified organisms should be labelled so that consumers can make an informed choice. Tests exist to prove the presence of genetically modified organisms in products and it should be compulsory to use these tests at the manufacturer's expense.

"Manufacturer protests that this would put up the price of food to consumers should be disregarded," Mr Lee said. "Manufacturers should recognise that this is part of the cost of doing business in genetically engineered products.

"There should also be in this country a moratorium on field trials of genetically modified crops. The risk of organisms escaping into the environment beyond any possibility of recall is just too great to be acceptable," Mr Lee said.

ENDS

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