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12 July 2002

GOVERNMENT USES SMOKE AND MIRRORS TO HIDE GE CORN TRUTH

Smoke and mirrors and dirt on a shovel ? "The arguments being pushed today that question the existence of GE contaminated corn and claim that test results were false positives, have no  substance. There is no doubt that the contamination existed. The test results were validated at the time by ERMA scientists and stand up to scrutiny now.

"The Government is using smoke and mirrors to deflect attention away from the fact that GE contaminated corn was planted, grown and harvested in New Zealand and the Government sanctioned it,"

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Govt. Uses Smoke And Mirrors To Hide GE Corn Truth

Thursday, 11 July 2002, 5:28 pm
Press Release: Greenpeace New Zealand

Auckland, 11th July, 2002: Greenpeace today expressed concern over the comments made by the Government and a scientist today denying conclusive evidence of GE contamination in the testing of corn imported into New Zealand.

"There was never any doubt about whether or not the corn was contaminated. ERMA scientist Donald Hannah concluded that there was 'less than 0.5 percent GM contamination' in the Novartis sweet corn Lot NC9114".11 Evaluation of Information Received for Novartis Jubilee Sweetcorn Lot NC9114, Donald Hannah, Manager, Science and Research, 5th December 2000.

He never concluded that the corn was not contaminated, only that the level of contamination came under the Government’s judiciously selected allowable contaminations threshold" said Annette Cotter, Greenpeace spokesperson today

"To conclude from these results that there was no GE contamination is like saying that tests show we only have chickens when results show that we have ninety nine chickens and one fox.

Dr Russell Poulter on National Radio today made a number of claims regarding the test results of the corn, calling into question the validity of the positive results for GE contamination.

"Dr Poulter says some seemingly contradictory statements. First he claims that false positives ‘occasionally register’. He then goes on to say that the five positive results obtained in two separate, independent laboratories do not indicate GE contamination, but are false positives. That appears to be contradictory to the law of averages - to say the least.

"He then says that the testing of the corn in Melbourne showed negative results. According to a diagram, which Dr Poulter has a copy of, in ‘Seeds of Distrust’, the Melbourne lab showed three positive results. ERMA scientist Donald Hannah looked at the positive test results and determined that lab error resulting in false positives was unlikely because the labs ran identical tests on ‘controls’ (seeds known to be GE free). These registered negative while the Lot NC9114 seeds registered positive.  He also concluded that the contaminant was likely to be a GE variety Bt 11 (page 55, Seeds of Distrust).

"The arguments being pushed today that question the existence of GE contaminated corn and claim that test results were false positives, have no  substance. There is no doubt that the contamination existed. The test results were validated at the time by ERMA scientists and stand up to scrutiny now.

"The Government is using smoke and mirrors to deflect attention away from the fact that GE contaminated corn was planted, grown and harvested in New Zealand and the Government sanctioned it," Cotter concluded.

Contact: Annette Cotter, Campaigner - 021 565 175 Vanessa Atkinson - 025 927 301
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