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Better biosecurity against threat from GE seeds

Fri, 9 Aug 2002
Urgent call for better biosecurity against threat from GE seeds

Further measures to ensure the efficient testing of seeds and if necessary prohibiting import from contaminated countries eg.US and Canada need to be implemented as a matter or urgency, in order to protect New Zealand's quality agricultural production and overseas export trade.

MAF's new regime for corn testing must be extended toother crops and must include post-harvest testing as yesterdays Pacific Seed contamination incident proves is vital to biosecurity.

"We have been asking for improved testing and restrictions on likely-contaminated imports for years, specificaly to ward aginst incidences like Corngate and todays episode," said Jon Carapiet, a spokesperson for GE-Free NZ ( in food and environment)." We are demanding the protocols be improved immediately. There is no more time for delay while government and regulatory agencies wake up to the fact that contamination by GMOs is a serious biosecurity issue",said Mr Carapiet. "MAF must act now or carry the responsibility for more crops, not just corn, becoming contaminated."

The finding of GE contamination, post-harvest by Pacific seeds signals the present MAF testing regime is doomed to fail without urgent improvements. GE Free NZ (in Food and Environment) although welcoming the recent protocol and increased sample size which may assist identification, are asking for immediate action to be taken on other improvement. These must include: all batches to be tested prior to passing the border, and post harvest samples testing. Neighbouring crops should also be tested in cases of contamination. Soils where GE crops have been grown should need to be examined and to avoid any further possible contamination crops of corn should not be grown in the same ground.

The funding of an independent organisation set up by those companies like Watties and other organic producers to carry out parrallel testing could ensure reliability of tests.

For more info Jon Carapiet
09 815 3370
GE Free NZ in Food and Environment

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