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Clean green image could be wrecked

Clean green image will be wrecked unless government goes with the flow

GE Free New Zealand are appealing to the New Zealand government to join the rest of the world in supporting the labelling of genetically engineered organisms traded between nations.

At the meeting for the signatories to the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol in Brazil, the New Zealand government is seeking to deny developing countries and the rest of the world from putting in place mechanisms that will limit the flow of unwanted living GE organisms used for food.

This goes against everything New Zealand stands for both internationally and at home. Our government purportedly supports good democratic process and quality exports; yet refuses to acknowledge the wishes of the New Zealand public, at least 3/4 of whom do not want anything to do with GE. Any action which blocks consensus also jeopardises our thriving export economy and tourist trade, and threatens to bring boycotts from some of our more environmentally aware and most lucrative markets.

There appears to be only one explanation for our government's stance. US exports of food are shunned in the EU, since many consumers will not buy contaminated GE foods, ending up in Asia, China or dumped in developing countries, where many are concerned about such imports posing a danger to their own exports and food security. Our government were warned not to label GE foods by US ambassador Josiah Beeman as far back as 1998 and have been 'advised' on GE issues ever since.

A recent report documented widespread contamination, illegal plantings from 113 incidents in 39 countries worldwide and their frequency is increasing.Incidents included crops being contaminated by GE pharmaceutical variants and unapproved crops and transgenic pig meat ending up in the food supply.

"Without proper identification and documentation we will see more of these events worldwide, it is up to our government to do the right thing" said Claire Bleakley of GE Free New Zealand.


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