EU acceptance of GE contamination in all crops, gives New Zealand a real opportunity and point of difference in the world as a GE Free crop producer, according to The Soil & Health Association, New Zealand.
In Brussels on Tuesday, EU Ministers at the Agriculture Council decided to allow contamination of organic food with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Ministers adopted a new law, which allows organic food containing up to 0.9 percent ‘adventitious or technically unavoidable’ GMO content to be classed and labeled as organic.
“New Zealand has zero tolerance to genetically engineered (GE) contamination and with organic food the worlds fastest food sector growth area, there are fantastic opportunities here for both genuine GE Free organic and conventional growers”, said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning. “BioGro organic certification standards for example would not tolerate GE contamination, and some British supermarkets are already demanding BioGro. EU consumers do not want GE either.”
“The European Parliament and environmental groups had called for the threshold of contamination of organic food to be 0.1 percent, which is the lowest level at which genetically modified organisms can be technically detected, but due to our increasingly stringent biosecurity and unique geographical isolation, New Zealand’s zero tolerance need not be altered”, said spokesperson Browning.
“Our special position with only limited field trials, that can quickly be eradicated, has to be one of the best opportunities yet for sustainable economic development, with the added bonus of addressing food miles and other environmental trade barriers. Nuclear Free, GE Free & Zero Tolerance, Clean & Green, 100% Pure, BioGro, are winners, not contamination”
“Crop and Food are likely to apply for a further field trial including onions, garlic and leeks this year, but with a likely legal challenge to the recent ERMA decision allowing a GE Brassica field trial, that may be in doubt, leaving just one pathetic GE onion trial to be ripped out, for New Zealand horticulture to be genuinely GE Free.”
“With the onions gone, removing the equally pathetic field trial of GE trees and 200 GE cattle, would allow New Zealand primary producers to walk a very tall GE Free in the world, just as the community has wanted in survey after survey,” said spokesperson Browning.
“A GE Free and Organic 2020, with economic and sustainability benefits, is a far better picture than the contaminated environment that is being hoisted on Europe, and already exists across many parts of the globe.”
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