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Contaminated Seeds Imports Compromise Exports

20.6.01

Contaminated Seeds Imports Compromise Our Quality Exports

GE Free NZ are pleased to see that GM contamination is being addressed by the Ministry of Environment but believe that ALL seeds imported from regions where GM contamination is known to be a problem should be tested. The protocol, announced today, will apply solely to sweetcorn this year although other seed varieties are at risk too, particularly brassicas. (the cabbage family)

"Contaminated seeds compromise New Zealands booming agricultural economy, both organic and conventional exports, and our 'clean green image",said Susie Lees from GE Free NZ

New Zealand is at serious risk of GE contamination by default. It is not only commercial seed companies that are unsure of the presence of GM contaminants but also home garden seed suppliers.

"Detection by bona-fide GM testers should be the duty of the countries exporting seeds to New Zealand, follow up testing may be necessary until the integrity of testing has been proven but New Zealanders should not be forced to bear the cost or any unwanted results," said Susie. "It should not be up to our importers or MAF to ensure seeds are GM free, the onus should be on the companies exporting the seed, all importers should be asking for assurances."

Six months down the line, the Ministry of Environment will still not ensure that no GM seeds are being imported. After the importation of contaminated sweetcorn last October the government still has not got its act together. This is shown by today's press release by Marian Hobbs, which promises new border control protocols will take effect solely for sweetcorn.

A proposed quality assurance system is a step forward but strict vigilance is essential to maintain our premium GE Free agricultural exports.

ENDS


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