Gene editing a threat to NZ’s green image according to GE Free NZ

by | May 17, 2023 | News

Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has approved the adoption of gene edited seeds without any regulation, health or safety assessments, traceability or liability and only voluntary disclosure, according to press release by GE Free NZ (GEFNZ). The deregulation of GE seeds includes the U.S., Japan, Australia, Argentina and Brazil, according to National Newswatch Canada.

The article indicates that the New Zealand Government has been in closed door talks to “progress allowing GE seeds to be imported and sold in New Zealand, the UK and the European Union”.

“GEFNZ has written to the Minister to clarify if this statement is correct,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ. “If this is true, the Government has breached its “duty of care” and opened up dangerous economic and safety issues that GE regulation protects.”

GEFNZ believes the agreement threatens the important point of difference that has benefited our economy and exports from Aotearoa New Zealand to the world based on our world-leading standards for clean, safe, natural, GE Free and organic food.

“Gene Editing has been around for only 10 years. The GE seeds have not undergone any long term environmental or health safety testing, even though laboratory studies have shown deleterious mutations and altered gene function called “off target effects”.” says the GEFNZ press release. It goes on to claim the agreeement “is a direct threat to New Zealand exporters who sell their products as non-GMO.”

“This is killing the goose that lays the golden egg for New Zealand exports,” said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE Free NZ.

The press release insists consumers want certainty around food safety and the choice to avoid the unknown environmental and health effects of GE. New Zealand exporters can currently guarantee that all products are GE Free and and underpins our economic wellbeing.

This adds to concerns of excess pesticides in the environment and in foods that negatively impact people and natural ecosystems.

The Government must be called to account as to why they have led secret talks into the deregulation and release of GE without public consultation.

Photo by Jake Gard on Unsplash

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