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Former Minister misinterprets science, LSN says

The careful framework that has been set out by New Zealand’s Government to consider applications for genetic modification on a case-by-case basis was a cautious approach, former Environment Minister for the UK Michael Meacher said in an interview on National Radio this morning.

Mr Meacher, who is in New Zealand at Greenpeace’s invitation, said he did not agree that a referendum would be useful and instead advocated a science based approach to the regulation of GM.

Mr Meacher misinterpreted much of the scientific information available and failed to recognize that the strategic issues for New Zealand have already been debated through the Royal Commission, who recommended we proceed with caution on a case-by-case basis, keeping our opportunities open, Chairman of the Life Sciences Network Dr William Rolleston said.

This policy, to proceed with caution, was confirmed by the New Zealand Government at the last general election where GM was a major issue.

The recent UK GM Science Review Panel says a major strand of scientific opinion considers the testing currently carried out in the EU to be robust and sufficiently comprehensive to provide GM crops that are at least as safe as their conventional counterparts, despite claims by Mr Meacher that this has not been done. Link to report

During the interview Mr Meacher also referred to reported allergies to Starlink corn, which were investigated by scientists from the American Environmental Protection Agency and the Centre for Disease Control and proven to be untrue. The scientists said they found no evidence that StarLink corn had made anyone sick.

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