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Corn Contamination Highlights Reliance On MAF

Corn Contamination Highlights Reliance On MAF


Corn Contamination Highlights Primary-Industry Reliance On MAF, And Sends Government A Warning Signal On GE Commercial Release

GE-Free NZ ( in food and environment) welcomes the move by MAF to address the contamination in fields but is concerned by the delay in clearing contaminated fields and the risks to soil from ploughing in the remnants.

The incident is a warning signal that industry cannot control the spread of GE contamination and that the NZ Government are risking widespread contamination as a result of their policy to allow GM commercial release from next October.

" Our country's biosecurity is vital to our billion-dollar primary exports and we are totally reliant on MAF doing its job properly. We must learn the lessons," syas Jon Carapiet, a spokesperson for Ge Free NZ (in food and environment).

MAF must now realise that a more comprehensive program needs to be developed so that they can act quickly in similar circumstances in the future. The incident also highlights how reliant farmers from nearby farms are on MAF working effectively to maintain the integrity of their produce.

" This is a lesson for the biotechnology industry because they claimed they could ensure GE products would be kept separate from Non - GM," syas Mr. Carapiet."It is also a lesson for our agricultural industry because it shows the threat to conventional farming as well as organics that GE contamination presents."

But Mr Carapiet says the biggest lesson is for the Labour-led government itself, especially in the global context of international markets clearly rejecting GM foods and the economic damage to those few countries already producing GM crops.

" This accident shows just how difficult it is to ensure GE is kept away from ordinary food. The last thing the government should be doing is moving towards commercial release. The problems industry has in keeping non GM varieties clean of GE constructs are now clearly seen. Commercial release will inevitably allow step by step contamination which is tantamount to self-sabotage," says Mr Carapiet.

Ends

More info:- Jon Carapiet 09 815 3370

Mr Carapiet says that if GE contamination may have spread to non GM crops but that current labelling laws would allow this corn to be sold into the food chain without labelling. " The 1% threshold for food contamination would allow GE corn resulting form this crop to be hidden, at least according to MAF's reading of the Food Safety Authority set up to replace ANZFA

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