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GE onions have no benefit for NZ: Threaten Exports

GE onions have “no benefit “ for New Zealand and threaten Exports

The application by New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research to field test onions modified for tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate should be rejected by ERMA and the farming community as being counter to the national interest.

That was the view of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification that considered such GM crops and reported they had no benefit for New Zealand.

“ This is another indicator of a systems - breakdown. Why is this research even being considered, when we spent $6 million on a Royal Commission that identified clear problems with this type of GM,” says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

This project is not just a waste of money but also a threat to our marketing opportunity to position all fruit and vegetables grown in New Zealand as GE-Free. GE crops like these onions present a clearly defined set of problems. There is an increased absorption of chemical residues into human food . Monsanto and other companies have had food authorities increase the level of permitted residues by 200 times.

Such crops have also been found to develop resistance to the herbicide leading to a cycle of increased use of herbicides, including more toxic sprays as the problem of resistance escalates.

This application betrays the fact there is a serious lack of strategic vision for our agricultural sector at the level of government and amongst publicly-funded research centers.

“ I hope the farming community voices its rejection of this project loudly and clearly. The application should be withdrawn as the Royal Commission’s findings indicate,” says Mr Carapiet.

These GE onions have no place in New Zealand’s marketing future. Like the push for GE potatoes modified to impact insects, there is simply no market for them.

The scientists pushing GE onions and potatoes must show the public and the regulatory authorities where their customer-base is. The reality is they have no customers wanting such products now or in the future.

It’s time to stop going down a blind alley that threatens the national interest.

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