20/09/2007

ERMA To Face Legal Challenge Over GE Trials

 


A hearing date for a legal challenge against ERMA's approval of field trials of GE brassica has been set for March 31st 2008.

GE Free New Zealand (in food and environment) has challenged ERMA over their approval of an application by Crop and Food Research to field test a range of brassic crops over a ten year period.

In recent weeks the challenge has gained widening support with Organic Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ), BioGro NZ, and the Biodynamic Association also filing in support of the appeal.

Crop and Food have filed with ERMA.

ERMA received 940 submissions asking that the GM Bt Brassica application be declined in light of known dangers to the New Zealand economy, public and animal health which make any legitimate commercial release virtually impossible. All bodies who have filed with the court made submissions at the time of the application.

GE Free New Zealand (in food and environment) appealed the ERMA decision to approve the field trial of GE brassica on points of law. The appeal submitted that the field test conditions have not been met and in particular that no testing has been required on the long term effects on ecosystems, animal or human health. Scientific studies have shown that Bt gene has been linked to human ill health and animal deaths.

”It is good to know that there is such strong support for our stand around clarifying the issue of what is required under the law" said Claire Bleakley of GE Free NZ (in food and environment).

“We believe that ERMA should have declined this application as it did not fulfill the requirements of the HSNO Act in relation to the final outcomes that are required for GE in regard to economic, environmental and community safety."

ENDS:
Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842; mob: 027 348 6731
Jon Carapiet 021 050 7681

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