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GE Costs Must Be Passed to Gene Company

MAF Liability for GE Costs Must Be Passed to Gene Company

MAF's admission that it may be liable for costs incurred in clear-up of GE-contaminated seed is further evidence that a new liability regime is urgently needed to pass costs on to gene-patent owners.

Bayer, the company believed to have the patent on the genes contaminating recent imported maize seeds should be approached for compensation, but it appears this is not being done.

" It appears MAF are now subsidising the biotech industry. MAF appear to have made no efforts to get Bayer to pay up," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment. "MAF are using taxpayers funds rather than the profits of the biotech company to ensure industry commitments to separation and consumer-choice to buy GE-free products are maintained."

There is great concern amongst producers, exporters and the public, that after a few incidents of discovering accidental contamination MAF are contemplating throwing in the towel on New Zealand's zero tolerance standard for GM contamination in seed.

"This could destroy our competitive advantage in the global market and sabotage our standing as having the best standards in the world. We will be a second-tier commodity-exporter unless we preserve our gold-standard regulation," says Mr Carapiet.

The system is working, and only a few crops have required concerted efforts to protect. It is nonsense for MAF to say we'd have to destroy half our crops as reported by Rural News (see below). This is simply scare-mongering aimed at forcing acceptance of GE contamination that the biotech industry wants.

To give up on our zero-tolerance standard is a politically motivated decision that MAF have no mandate from the NZ public to take.

“Just because a law is occasionally broken, the rule of law is not abandoned. 70% of New Zealanders oppose the environmental release of GE organisms - whether as a result of ERMA approval, stealth or illegal importation.” says Mr Carapiet.

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