GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 11th December 2003

NZ falling behind EU on Legal liability for GM Producers

New Zealand should follow the lead of Europe and establish legal liability of GM food producers for contaminating other foods.

On Tuesday (see article below) MP’s from the EU called for the European Commission to draw up new legislation which would require insurance cover against costs associated with any GM crops contaminating GE-free supplies.

Last month New Zealand food producers were warned that some ingredients, especially soy, were so contaminated that GE-free labeling was becoming impossible. If allowed to continue this contamination would effectively deny consumers the right to choose GE-free foods and undermine the proposals of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

In order to protect New Zealand’s agricultural sector, it is vital that companies promoting GE release are required to have insurance and are liable for damage to GE-free products.

Representatives from industry lobby-group ‘The Life Sciences Network’ claim that they have never said separation of GE ingredients would be 100% nor that consumers would be allowed to choose GE-free foods except with thresholds for contamination.

“This makes a mockery of the Royal Commission’s backing of consumers’ rights to choose GE-free foods, and threatens our international exports,” says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment. 

Liability and insurance is a basic requirement to encourage the biotech industry to follow the Precautionary Principle and prevent contamination
from ruining our exports and denying New Zealanders the basic rights that consumers across the world are demanding.

If the New Zealand government really wants the “ best regulatory system the world” to protect our economy and human rights, they should follow the lead of EU parliamentarians, and legislate.

New Zealand should also withdraw its shameful support for the US case at the WTO aimed at forcing GE foods onto the European market.


Jon Carapiet- 09 815 3370

REFERENCE

EU calls for new rules on liability of GM food producers 09 Dec 2003

Source: Keith Nuthall

European Parliamentarians are urging the European Commission to draw up legislation that would establish the legal liability of GM food producers for contamination of products by non-biotech manufacturers and growers.

Such legislation, said the parliament’s agriculture committee, should also create rules telling GM companies to secure “insurance in respect of
possible financial damage in connection with coexistence" with non-GM producers.

It also recommended that GM product approval procedures should insist that a company could only sell genetically modified foodstuffs if it had
sufficient insurance coverage to meet possible compensation claims. These could arise from the contamination of non-GM plants via pollen or a
failure to label GM ingredients that subsequently ended up in the food chain.

www.Just-food.com

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