GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 20th  February 2004

GE Piggies Go to Market in Quebec

GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment is asking the government to prevent all products containing Canadian pig meat from entering the country. A second "accidental" release of GE pigs containing pharmaceutical proteins, into the food chain in Canada, is a danger to anybody who eats pork in this country.

Health Canada's health-risk assessment acknowledges that low levels of rendered genetically modified material were in animal feed. They have moved to allay fears and the Canadian Food inspection Agency - CFIA has concluded that livestock consuming the affected feed are not at risk.

"This is an unapproved illegal animal feed ingredient and the last time a government agency moved to allay animal feed fears the world ended up with vCJD" said Claire Bleakley of GE Free (NZ) in food and environment "New Zealand has experienced two cases of chronic brain wasting disease that resemble vCJD yet the government has not followed up what was the cause."

"This accident, the second in two years, highlights the difficulty of controlling "human error" in the handling and disposal of GE organisms. What will be the results of the second release?" said Claire.

Our country has recently undergone two severe storms in as many weeks, these have come in summer when grain crops are ready for harvest. The lower North Island has been devastated by the loss of animals and crops to these floods. Seeds from crops are now spread, throughout arable land, for many hundreds of kilometres; animals too have floated downriver. If these were a GE crops New Zealand's cropping land would have been totally contaminated with GE seeds, which would contaminate any further crop planted in the flooded areas. If GE animals any isolation controls would have been breached.

"How does the government expect to control GE releases and deal with contamination and liability of accidental GE escape?" Claire Bleakley said. "ERMA must look to amending its guidelines and put stringent controls on its open GE trials by keeping them in covered secure enclosures until full safety, liability and environmental studies have been conducted.

GE Free (NZ) is requesting that ERMA gives the public information on any storm damage to the PPL GE unlined offal pits that run along side the river at Whakamaru, and on the Ag Research cow field trial in Hamilton. 

Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842 

Ref:Greenpeace Prerss Release l7 Feb 
2004 and link to Canadian Food Inspection Agency news Release

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