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GE trial facilities must be shut down

 

 
All GE trial facilities must be shut down at Plant and Food


GE Free NZ in Food and Environment is calling for the immediate closure of all GE trial facilities at the Plant and Food sites following another major breach of regulatory controls. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Biosecurity (MAFBNZ) discovery of GE plants outside the laboratory in which they were supposed to be contained.

The plant Arabidopsis thaliana is called mouse-ear cress and is closely related to the cabbage, rocket and mustard (brassica) family; it is a small invasive self-pollinating herb with white flowers crossing easily with other brassica relatives.  It has been extensively used in the creation of genetically engineered plants.

It takes 6 weeks from seed germination to the production of a new crop of seeds one plant can produce up to 10000 seeds.  Over 6 million transgenic (GE) Arabidopsis thaliana seeds were sent over to overseas partners, under the Cartegena protocols in the first 6 months of the year.

“Plant and Food are taking on the sloppy working practices that their previous CRI sister company, Crop and Food, had over GE regulations and appear to be deliberately contaminating New Zealand sustainable farming brand and threatening overseas agricultural exports” said Claire Bleakley President of GE Free NZ in Food and Environment.

This is not the first time that Plant and Food have been found in breach of regulatory controls.  In January this year MAF discovered a serious breach in their field trial conditions. A GM brassica plant was found flowering with a fully formed immature seed pod (silque). 

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Plant and Food immediately closed down the field trial site and MAF ordered extensive spraying and monitoring for the next five years; however the regulatory bodies did not place any penalty on the breach in fact reported that the ERMA regulatory protocols were not clear.  They in fact turned a blind eye on the effects of the breach.

“It appears that Plant and Food has been arrogant enough to believe that they can still be cavalier and sloppy in their laboratory work as they were in their field trials and shows that their scientists have a callous disregard for New Zealand biosecurity safety protocols” said Ms Bleakley.

“GE Free NZ calls for the immediate closure of all GM facilities run by Plant and Food and a monetary penalty that reflects the enormity of their continued and seemingly deliberate GE breaches”. 

ENDS


 

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