Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Scoop Feedback: In Support Of A GE Free NZ

Letter to the Editor

24 September 2001

I write as a luddite, a person against the environmental release of genetically modified organisms in any form, as referred to in the letter by John Forman, Current Board Member and Candidate for Lambton Ward Capital & Coast District Heath Board. For your interest, this luddite holds a world class European MBA and has worked in international agricultural trade promotion and a business advisory role for farmers. They also believe strongly in New Zealand improving it’s competitive advantage in world markets and improving the health of the population.

In the early 1990’s my organisation and I advised the British public that British beef was safe to eat. The science at that time had found no evidence of transfer between the affected animals and humans who consumed beef. As the research continued links were found, and now I am unable to give blood in NZ and I know two people who have lost a close relative to CJD, the human variant of Bovine Spongiform Encepalopathy (BSE). This does not prove that GM is dangerous, but for me sounds warning bells to encourage very slow and thorough consideration, which I am not seeing at the present time as unlabelled, virtually untested foods appear in our shops and liability issues remain unsolved.

Therefore, I look very carefully at the report of the Royal Commission. They suggest that the evidence against GMOs is inconclusive. I suggest that the evidence in favour of the safe release of GMOs is also inconclusive. I know from my agricultural background that one cannot control how far the wind, an insect or a bird carries the pollen from even a trial crop and therefore strongly believe that environmental release of GMOs in any shape or form is irriversible.

France has been subject of a moratorium on GM crops since 1997, but ‘the AFSSA (French Agency for Food Safety) found them (GM organisms present) in 41% of the maize seed and crop samples it examined. ... There are only 34 hectares of GM Maize grown for commercial purposes in France (out of a total of 3 million hectares of maize). ...

Even the seed manufacturers accept that contamination can be caused by wind, pollination or a mixture of species on fields edges.’ Le Monde editorial - 26 July. Page 171 of the Royal Commission Report acknowledges that co-existence of GM & non-GM production may not be possible if zero tollerance of accidental GM contamination is required.

I also believe that the economics of release into the environment in any form are completely unviable. Already NZ products have been turned away in international markets due to GM ingredients, and other food organisations eg. Tegel are committed to a GMO free product as 60 % of their consumers are concerned about their food containing GMOs.

Since biotech crops came on the market in 1996, US farm exports have fallen from $60 billion a year to $51 billion, -a decline of 15%. The US has lost $400 million a year in corn exports to the EU, while Canada has lost a similar amount in canola exports. These losses are expected to increase, according to a new report by the General Accounting Office, the research arm of the US Congress, as European, Asian, and other governments adopt the "precautionary principle" requiring pre-market safety testing, labelling, and segregation of genetically engineered crops.

Meanwhile exports of GMO-free grains from Brazil, Australia, India, and China are expanding. Sources in the EU feed industry say the present demand for certified non-GMO soybean meal has grown from nearly zero to 25% in only 12 months, with the expectation of further increases in the coming year. (Source - AgJournal UK 30/05/01)

New Zealand has a wonderful business opportunity at this time to capitalise on its clean, green image (as valued in the recent Ministry of Environment report) by ensuring that no GMO field trials are undertaken and encouraging New Zealand companies to proudly declare themselves GMO free.

Yours faithfully

Mary Thompson MBA


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Trump Plays Both Sides Against The Middle

Is he a hawk? Is he a peacenik? The President keeps us guessing . By Reese Erlich President Donald Trump has convinced Republican isolationists and hawks that he supports their views. That’s a neat trick, since the two groups hold opposing positions. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Waiting For The Old Bailey: Julian Assange And Britain’s Judicial Establishment

On September 7, Julian Assange will be facing another round of gruelling extradition proceedings, in the Old Bailey, part of a process that has become a form of gradual state-sanctioned torture. The US Department of Justice hungers for their man. The More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Sorry Plight Of The International Education Sector

Tourism and international education have been two of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. They’re both key export industries. Yet the government response to them has been strikingly different. There has been nothing beyond a few words of ministerial condolence and a $51.6 million package (details below) to get the sector through the pandemic...
More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code

Tech giants tend to cast thin veils over threats regarding government regulations. They are also particularly concerned by those more public spirited ones, the sort supposedly made for the broader interest. Google has given us an example of this ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>