Brassica trial crazy

Published: Wed 1 Nov 2006 09:29 AM
Soil & Health Association of New Zealand (Est. 1941)
Publishers of ORGANIC NZ
Crop & Food’s intended GE Brassica field trial is even crazier than their existing GE onion trial, according to Soil & Health, and move in the opposite direction to the Prime Ministers sustainability vision.
Potential key drawbacks are:
Early resistance by pests
Fast spread of GE brassicas and interbreeding contamination
Contamination of GMO free crops
Loss of markets through contamination
Loss of markets through NZ’s Clean Green image loss
Human and animal health risks
The use of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) in genetically engineered crops has shown an early build of resistance in pest insects, resulting in the loss of a safe and important tool for many farmers.
Organic producers are able to use Bt and careful use has maintained its benefit without pest resistance. Organic and GMO free producers markets demand products free of GMO contamination.
The current use of Bt poses little risk to humans or stock as the toxin only occurs in the pest caterpillar’s gut.
GMO Bt poses risks as the toxin is in every cell of the GM crop including that eaten by consumers and also the pollen and roots.
Brassica pollen travels large distances, the seeds are small and brassicas cross easily, with hundreds of variants in existence. GMO brassicas will be one of the riskiest and dirtiest GMO crops possible.
The use of GMO crops flies in the face of Prime Minister Helen Clark’s vision of New Zealand being in the vanguard of sustainability, with New Zealand being the first truly sustainable nation, said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning.
A truly sustainable nation will have no part in GM crops or stock.
Crop & Food’s is a State Owned Enterprise whose persistence with experimenting with many vegetable and flower crops that are creeping into field trial applications is contrary to New Zealand’s Clean Green image.
Crop & Food are experimenting with a number of brassicas and also tomatoes, cucurbits, onions, asparagus, orchids, cyclamen, snapdragons, pelargoniums, violas and others in their laboratories. A lot more than most are aware of, according to Browning.
“It is time to stop these experiments if there is no serious expectation to grow in New Zealand. New Zealanders have clearly stated that GM crops are not wanted.”

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