6 Mar 2012

US court ruling on GE seed worries local campaigners

1:51 pm on 6 March 2012

An anti-GE group says a United States court ruling that the spread of genetically modified seed to organic farms isn't harmful could have negative implications here.

A US district court has thrown out a claim by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, saying the spread of GE seeds to organic fields does not constitute harm.

The patented GE seeds have been developed by Monsanto Corporation, and are engineered to be resistant to pesticides.

GE Free New Zealand spokesperson Jon Carapiet says it sets a dangerous precedent and could ultimately put New Zealand's reputation for food safety at risk.

"The very concerning liberal approach to contamination by GE in America could be on the agenda for expansion under something like the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement that would impose lower standards on all farmers and all exporters of food."

Mr Carapiet says most of New Zealand's export markets don't want even trace levels of GE contamination, and standards don't allow GE seeds to be imported to New Zealand.

He believes the US decision is likely to be appealed in a higher court.