GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 6th August 2003

Meacher warns select committee and government ministers of GE risks

Today in the Education and Science Select committee, Michael Meacher ex minister of environment gave evidence for Greenpeace warning that co-existence of GE and conventional crops is impossible. The news was not well received, the select committee carefully towing the governments line that they were 'preserving opportunities' and that GE food was safe, despite not being able to front up with any scientific peer reviewed studies.

Meacher stated that a UK recent report, the results of a scientific review, show that there is a need to exhaustively test GE foods to ensure that there are no negative effects particularly on young children.

He remarked that he was surprised that New Zealand was willing to throw away its market advantages of GE Free production particularly as the worlds largest dairy producer producing 1/3 of the global production and exporting 95% particularly to markets in the EU and Japan which were not accepting of GE food.

He spoke of useful discussions with both Marian Hobbs and Pete Hodgson. Pete Hodgson wanted to discuss pine trees and possum sterility and whether or not this could be passed to other species. This is something that GE Free New Zealand in Food and environment have raised so it appears there is some hope that government may be listening.

" We urge the Select Commitee and all MP's to learn the lessons from overseas. We must preserve our opportunities and that means legislation requiring ERMA to protect GE-Free production for future generations," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

contact Jon Carapiet 09 815 3370