GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 12th  May 2004

GE Polluters must be held liable

The company whose patented genes have contaminated imported maize seed should be held liable for the costs of the clean up and any loss of sales as a result of the incident.

The contamination shows the need for improved testing regimes and for importation of seeds to be redirected to countries where GE maize is not commercialised, to further reduce the risk of contamination.

The claims of safety, for the "low level" of GE maize that may have actually planted and grown, are also under serious doubt. In recent weeks the UK-based Independent Science Panel has revealed major flaws in the scientific tests used to gain approval of GE foods internationally.

They have called for all already-approved GE foods to be withdrawn and immediately subjected to proper testing, their concerns have been backed by former UK Environment Minister Michael Meacher.

" The company owning Liberty Link T25 must be held financially liable, but New Zealand laws leave a gaping hole that is likely to see the public purse paying for the damage," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"Claims of safety for human consumption are also wrong when FSANZ (formerly ANZFA) have actually done no testing of the GE food. Authorities have accepted flawed tests supplied by the manufacturer themselves," says Mr Carapiet.

Urgent action is needed to destroy contaminated seed and MAF must pursue the biotech company for compensation. The Minister of Health should take action to review the flawed approvals of untested GE products already on the market.

Jon Carapiet 09 815 3370

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