GE Free NZ, 17th June  2003

Demand for New Zealand Laws to make GE companies liable for damage to
other crops


New Zealand should adopt a similar measure to that proposed by a Scottish Parliamentarian which makes GE companies liable for contaminating other crops in the field or in processing.

The proposed regulation in Scotland is needed in New Zealand if companies are to be encouraged into reasonable caution and to refrain from environmental release, rather than proceeding because the risks are subsidised by the taxpaying public.

"The so-called Life Science companies are saying everyone else must accept contamination from their products. Government ministers, presumably because they are misinformed or have been mislead, are refusing to protect GE-free production in law," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment. "That leaves Corporate Liability as a key defence against the destruction of the opportunities which the Royal Commission on GM said we should preserve."

Carey Coombs, of Soil Association Scotland, was at the launch of the proposed legislation and said, “This is an aspect of the GM debate which needs highlighting: why should farmers pay for the consequences of GM crops being grown in their region? If organic farmers crops or feed are contaminated, they will be unable to sell produce as organic”.

The same question needs to be asked of Federated Farmers who have maintained silence on the liability issues claiming farmers will 'have their cake and eat it too". 

Contact Jon Carapiet 09 815 3370

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http://www.soilassociation.org/web/sa/saweb.nsf/librarytitles/GMO11062003.html

Liability is crucial issue in GM debate
PRESS RELEASE 11 JUNE 2003
The Soil Association welcomes the Scottish Green Party’s proposals to make GM seed companies liable for any contamination of organic and conventional crops in Scotland.

Green MSP Mark Ruskell today launched a parliamentary bill proposal which would make GM seed companies pay for any damage they do to other farmers’ crops through cross-pollination or processing. Carey Coombs, of Soil Association Scotland, was at the launch and said, “This is an aspect of the GM debate which needs highlighting: why should farmers pay for the consequences of GM crops being grown in their region? If organic farmers crops or feed are contaminated, they will be unable to sell produce as organic”.

Peter Melchett, the Soil Association’s Policy Director, said, " This is a welcome and necessary proposal. The current law will not provide any protection for non-GM farmers who lose income because of GM  contamination. Hundreds of organic farmers in the US and Canada have suffered financial losses as a result of GM. We need measures to protect farmers throughout the UK."

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