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Aventis unable to assure Royal Commission

Aventis unable to assure Royal Commission of genetic purity

Auckland, 16 October 2000 – Today, the opening day of the Formal hearings for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Genetic Modification, panelists heard that once Genetically engineered crops were introduced there was no assurance of genetic purity for conventional crops.

Aventis Global Product Safety Manager Robert McDonald was unable to give any assurance to the Commission or environmental and organic groups, that conventional and organic crops would be 100 percent free of contaminated material, if genetically engineered crops were introduced into the environment.

When cross-examined by Greenpeace lawyer Duncan Currie, Mr McDonald acknowledged that genetically engineered material is spread by bees, wind, animals and people spreading seeds.

Aventis’ witnesses also acknowledged that genetic contamination of crops has already occured in Canada and the UK.

"New Zealanders will not accept that their crops cannot be guaranteed free of genetic contamination", said Greenpeace spokesperson Annette Cotter. "One of the largest Agrichemical companies in the world has today admitted that Genetically Engineered material cannot be contained."

Representatives of many groups were present at the hearing today, including the Organics industry, the Green Party, Nelson GE Free and Greenpeace.

For more information contact:
Annette Cotter, GE campaigner 025-648-8636

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