INDEPENDENT NEWS

Greens pleased ERMA undertake GE testing

Published: Mon 8 May 2000 08:48 AM
Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said she was pleased with an undertaking from the Environmental Risk Management Authority last week to test organisms suspected of being illegal genetically engineered imports.
Ms Fitzsimons said people were often approaching her with items they suspected were genetically engineered and most of them were not. However given ERMA concerns that it is difficult to detect illegal importation of genetically engineered organisms it was important that ERMA agreed to check suspect items.
Ms Fitzsimons said she was concerned but not at all surprised about the potential of illegal imports of genetically engineered organisms into New Zealand because our biodiversity and border control systems are not coping well with conventional organisms.
Male order seeds are particularly difficult to intercept and pose very real threats to New Zealand's environment, biodiversity and ultimately our economy.
"If people have good reason to believe they are in possession of genetically engineered organisms the Green Party urge them to take their samples to ERMA for free and immediate analysis."
Ms Fitzsimons said she has just written to ERMA asking the agency to test two samples on behalf of the Green Party. These samples include an imported fish food which is promoted as 'biologically engineered' and a dark rose which the purchaser was told was genetically engineered with a tulip gene to produce darker colour.
She said she would be happy for her office to deal with questions from the public who were suspicious of any organism they were in possession of.
Ends
Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 07 868 6641, 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133

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