"THE HOPE OF THE INDUSTRY IS THAT OVER TIME THE MARKET IS SO FLOODED [WITH GM] THAT THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, YOU JUST SORT OF SURRENDER."
- Don Westfall, vice-president, Promar International a major Washington-based consultancy to the food industry
MEXICAN SITUATION PROVES MORATORIUM WON'T WORK
October 3, 2001
Biotenz/NZ Life Sciences Network (Inc)
http://www.biotenz.org.nz or http://www.lifesciencenz.com
The discovery of genetically modified corn in Mexico, despite the moratorium on planting of GM crops, which had been imposed by the Mexican Government, proves that a moratorium won't work in New Zealand the Chairman of the Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston, said today.
How the GM corn seed came to be planted is not known at the moment. It may well have been through inadvertent co-mingling of non-GM and GM corn seed by suppliers from the US. It may also have happened as a result of farmers planting out corn that was supposed to be used as animal feed.
But, it's clear in Mexico, just as it is in Brazil, that farmers want to use GM crops so they can reduce their dependence on costly pesticides and herbicides. The environmental benefits of this are obvious.
What the Mexican experience proves is that a moratorium is not an effective tool if it is used to try to impose a zero tolerance policy. The Mexican experience shows it is also impossible for a country which imposes a moratorium to declare itself GE-Free.
The only thing a moratorium stops is the acquisition of more knowledge and understanding about the impacts of GM crops in the environment.
Zero tolerance is a concept which was rejected by the Royal Commission. It makes much more sense to manage the introduction of new organisms and species through the very robust regulatory process New Zealand already has than to impose another level of exclusion, which has been shown to be flawed. We are much better to specify reasonable tolerance levels which can be monitored by the authorities, concluded Dr Rolleston.