27/08/2015

Ministry of Primary Industries must test for GE in shipments.

 

The two large spillages of corn [1] imported from the USA are not only a biosecurity threat but if they contain viable genetically engineered (GE) seeds then this is also an illegal shipment and poses a direct threat to our GE Free status. The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) must immediately fully test all shipments of grains coming in from the Americas and ensure that the importers abide by the New Zealand Law.

“It is our understanding that the Government regulations require that all GE seed is de natured or turned into grits,” said Claire Bleakley president of GE Free NZ, “If there are viable GE seeds in the shipment then human error cannot be blamed for spill that is already illegal”.

There are enough costs to our economy from introduced pests the threat from illegal imports of GE must be taken seriously. In the USA, in 2014 94% of its maize was GE however in 2015 it has dropped to 87% [2].

We call on the MPI to test all shipments for the presence of GE traits, if any corn shipments contain viable GE grains they must take the appropriate actions and enforce penalties on the importers.

“This is a direct threat to New Zealand’s valuable export market should this shipment contain viable GE seed,” said Claire Bleakley, “New Zealand is GE Free in its environment so any threat of contamination will threaten our whole economy.”

References:

[1] Spilled Maize a significant threat. http://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/taranaki-daily-news/20150827/281487865102043/TextView

[2] http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption.aspx

ENDS:

Claire Bleakley 06 3089842
Jon Muller 0274794195

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