GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 24th September 2003

Scientists back extension of GE moratorium in challenge to ERMA


New Zealand scientists and medical professionals have announced the scientific evidence emerging since the Royal Commission on GM shows the need for an extension of the moratorium on commercial release of GE organisms. ERMA - the Environmental Risk Management Agency- is already aware but has ignored much of the evidence cited in the report: Genetic Engineering Policy and Science since the Royal Commission: no resolution of Problems in Sight, published today by Dr Peter Wills. A GE-Free NZ spokesperson Jon Carapiet says "This report is an alarm call for government ministers and MP's who have been left ignorant of the scientific findings of recent months. 

Now they cannot say they were not told. Extending the moratorium is now a matter of good science which government and other party MP's claim they support." This review of recent scientific findings directly challenges MP's, considering the NOOM Bill, to require by Law that ERMA protects GE-free production from contamination in its decision-making. ERMA have been fudging the evidence of risk at meetings with the public and NGO's because the moratorium has meant they have not had to make decisions. "ERMA must respond to these findings by themselves instigating a moratorium on GE release. 

"The scientific evidence shows it is vital the science is complete before they start case-by-case approvals. They can simply back the widespread wish for the legislated moratorium on applications to be extended for five years", says Jon Carapiet. All public trust in ERMA will be lost if ERMA fail to accept the new scientific findings and push on with their pre-determined agenda rather than back an extension of the moratorium. 

There is a real danger that the public will no longer consider ERMA's decision-making legitimate. The report launched by Dr Wills at Unitech in Auckland includes scientific evidence of uncontrollable contamination that would deny choice to avoid GE in food, and: Inadequate testing of GE foods Side-effects on insects that increase the damage they do Contamination of honey two miles from GE sites Accidental transfer of unknown Genes by biotech companies Soil contamination that persists over time Failure overseas in farm-management systems intended to keep agriculture safe. 

Contact
Jon Carapiet - 09 815 3370 

The full report is available from Peter Wills
University of Auckland 09 373 7599 ex 8889
- or download as pdf file.

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