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Review of GM regulation prompted by US warnings

Demand for Independent review of GM regulation prompted by US warnings.

GE Free NZ ( in food and environment) are calling on ANZFA and ERMA to independently reassess and update their segregation, liability and safety protocols in the light of warnings from overseas that regulation of "approved GM " is failing.

New evidence from Science magazine shows that the US FDA has not the resources or the monitoring capability for post marketing GE studies.Similar failings in the approach taken by New Zealand regulators would be devastating for this country's biosecurity and exports.

The results from countries with full commercialisation contradict claims by biotech lobby groups that field-trials in the UK show farmers can easily meet the management requirements for co-existence of GE and GE-Free production.

Two recent reports have renewed international concern that the approval process for GM organisms is collapsing, something already signalled in Mexico and Brazil where illegal GE crops have been discovered.

One study out of Brussels raises concerns that the FDA relies solely on GE safety studies from industry. Another report -The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology -shows that post market rules for biotech are outdated and are not able to keep up with the required level of enforcement.

In New Zealand ERMA is not an enforcement body and both they and MAF have inadequate testing and monitoring regimes to prevent similar problems if New Zealand was to allow commercial GM release.

ERMA admits it has undertaken no research into effects on soil from the PPL transgenic sheep tirals, and has failed to follow up the Royal Commission's concerns about the Northland Tamarillo trial. Full histological studies into the deaths of GE animals are not fully carried out, and abnormalities are investigated as to whether they are part of the transgenic manipulation.

"GE is an ongoing world scientific experiment and the results are not good. Consumers, producers and farmers are still not convinced that GE is better than natural foods" says Claire Bleakley "Fears that genetic engineering could have sped up the pace of horizontal transfer of diseases from animal to human are beginning to arise. Scientists have called on the WHO to see if there is a link between naked viral expression vectors and the rapid mutation of the SARS virus"

Once GE is released into our country contamination from field-silo to table will be difficult to avoid. Canada has now been told that it cannot grow conventional or organic soy or canola as 75% of the seed stock is contaminated.

Contamination of our food with pharmplants could lead to large quantities of grain being burnt as in the Gisbourne saga.

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