13/04/2010

NZ Scientists Warn Against GM Plans

 

New Zealand scientists are warning that plans for Genetically Modified animals outside full containment represent an ‘unmanageable and undefined’ risk to exports, tourism, and potentially the well-being of New Zealanders.

Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility (PSGR) has written to the Prime Minister and The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) warning against plans by AgResearch to hugely expand the use of GE animals in New Zealand.

“PSGR questions the ability of the organisation to take into account the known and unknown factors and the potentially serious consequences of its proposed work” the letter says. The lack of information “is so severe that it precludes any credible scientific risk management of the sort that ERMA has previously required.”

“To the degree that ERMA has applied a science-based risk management methodology the application of established standards will be impossible.”

PSGR is a non-political organisation whose members are required to be qualified in a field of medicine, science and/or technology. It was one of the submitters at the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification that was instrumental in establishing the legislation controlling the risks of GE organisms.

“This is a warning from an independent group that includes senior science and medical professionals. It’s an alarm call to ERMA that the risks of long-term or unexpected impacts are impossible to assess without detailed information prior to approval,” says Claire Bleakely from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

“That is not acceptable to New Zealanders. It is wrong to go ahead and put at risk our dairy industry, environment, or community values. ERMA must listen to independent scientific advice, and not just listen to those with a financial interest in promoting GE trials outdoors.”

ENDS

Contact Claire Bleakley 0273486731


References

http://www.psgr.org.nz/

PSGR correspondence to ERMA- 7 April 2010

PSGR Media Contact: Dr Paul Butler 02110640945

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