31/10/2006

GM cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli - Field Trial

 

GE Free NZ says the application submitted by Crop and Food to ERMA for a field trial on GM cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli should be halted. They regard the application as foolhardy and economically unsound, noting that the EU and Japan have closed their markets to GM imports. "Consumers do not trust GM and will not spend money buying it," said Claire Bleakley of GE Free NZ.

Genetically modified crops have been modified by the insertion of foreign genes into their DNA through laboratory tequniques. Crops that have been genetically modified with the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) gene make them deadly to caterpillars and butterflies. The toxin produced by Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a common organic insecticide. It is highly toxic to the cabbage white butterfly larvae, killing them by dissolving the gut lining of the caterpillar. When used as a spray, it is non-toxic and easily washed off. However, when the Bt gene is inserted into the plant, the Bt toxin is expressed in every cell and cannot be washed away.

Over the last ten years pests and diseases are becoming resistant to the inserted insecticide and in cases non target insects are damaging the GM crop.

The brassica (cabbage) family is highly promiscuous. Wrightsons conducted a detailed study on the brassicas and discovered that "crosses occur between all species and sub species within the genus" and "seedlot contamination with all brassica species is common but visually difficult to detect".

Wind, insects, animals and farm workers can all spread the seed and pollen, resulting in cross-pollination of other cultivated or weedy brassicas.

" While the rest of the world is moving back to assisted classical plant breeding techniques using marker assisted breeding, Crop and Food is wasting scarce R&D money on a GM product that no one wants" said Claire Bleakley.

"However, the most dangerous finding is on the health of animals and people. There have been deaths recorded in animals eating Bt foods and severe adverse effects observed in on people handling and living near Bt crops"

A ten year study in Australia on peas (Pisum sativum) genetically modified to contain a gene from the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv. Tendergreen) resulted in detrimental effects on the health of laboratory rats.

The mice developed antibodies specific to the protein, hypersensitive skin response, airway inflammation and mild lung damage.

"No feeding studies have been done there is no data or diagnostic tests to know what an everyday common vegetable what it will do to our health these should be done before they are trialled as a field test" said Claire Bleakley of GE Free (NZ) in Food and Environment.

"Are we to understand that the Government has gone mad with its budget surplus that it will allow its CRI to jeopardise the health of New Zealanders and agricultural economy of the farming sector by allowing GM broccoli,cabbage and cauliflowerfield trials? "

GE Free NZ requests that the government call in the Crop and Food the application.

ENDS:
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 Mob:027 348 6731
Jon Carapiet

References:
Wrightsons submission to MAF on protocol for seed testing."Brassica Cross pollination", Dr Stewart Gowers, Forage Brassica breeder, Crop and Food Research.


RI Vazquez Padron et al (1999) Intragastric and intraperitoneal administration of Cry1Ac protoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis induces systemic and mucosal antibody responses in mice. Life Sciences, 64, 1897-1912.

A Pusztai (2001) Genetically modified foods: are they a risk to human/animal health? http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/pusztai.html (and in press).

Impact of Bt Cotton on Farmers' Health (in Barwani and Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh) Investigation Report, Oct - Dec 2005, www.GMWatch_org.htm

Mortality in Sheep Flocks after grazing on Bt Cotton fields, - Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh,Report of the Preliminary Assessment, April, 2006 www.GMWatch_org.htm

Chowdhury EH, Kuribara H, Hino A, Sultana P, Mikami O, Shimada N, Guruge KS, Saito M, Nakajima Y. Detection of corn intrinsic and recombinant DNA fragments and Cry1Ab protein in the gastrointestinal contents of pigs fed Genetically modified corn Bt11. J. Animal Science 2003, 81, 2546-51

Vanessa E. Prescott, Peter M. Campbell, Andrew Moore, Joerg Mattes, Marc E. Rothenberg, Paul S. Foster, T. J. V. Higgins, and Simon P. Hogan*, Transgenic Expression of Bean -Amylase Inhibitor in Peas Results in Altered Structure and Immunogenicity, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2005, vol 53 (23), p 9023-9030.

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