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Physicians Group Endorses Food Labelling Stand

Press Release From Physicians And Scientists For Responsible Genetics
30 October 2001

Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics (PSRG) endorse the recent stand of European Union members France, Austria, Denmark, Greece and Luxembourg.

Labelling - to give consumers a choice as to whether they eat genetically engineered foods or reject them - should not displace the European moratorium currently in place.

The now overwhelming evidence from overseas clearly illustrates the dangers of releasing genetically engineered organisms into the environment, be it by commercial release or field trials. The escape of transgenic DNA from field trials in Tasmania, acknowledged by the federal government, should be a warning to New Zealand.

There is an dearth of independent research on safety and effects. Until that is carried out, genetically engineered organisms released into the environment or food chain will place risks on the ecosystem and human health.

France, Austria, Denmark, Greece and Luxembourg have made it clear that they are so opposed to genetically engineered organisms that they will not even discuss ending national bans until new legislation is firmly in place. This will not happen before 2003. If the European Commission now takes steps to lift the moratorium, it will risk exposure to legal action through the WTO.

As Europe represents a not insubstantial portion of our export market, New Zealand cannot risk release genetically engineered organisms into New Zealand environment.


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