21/07/2007

Minister Urged to Heed Scientists' Warning on Hi-Lysine Corn.

 



Minister Urged to Heed Scientists' Warning on Hi-Lysine Corn.

The government must listen to New Zealand scientists' warnings that urgent
research is needed before a new GM corn should be allowed into human food..

The Minister must intervene to protect the integrity of the food supply
until regulations are in place to prevent hi-lysine corn mixing into food
and being cooked for human use.

Serious human illnesses are being linked to chemicals likely to be created
when the high-lysine GM corn is cooked.

"The mix-up of this new form of corn into human food is an accident waiting
to happen," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ ( in food and environment).

"Knowing that there are concerns about what happens when humans cook and eat
this high-lysine corn, it is vital to test the risks before any approval can
be justified."

The concerns point to the risks inherent in current regulations which cannot
ensure segregation of food-quality grains from industrial or pharmaceutical
GM crops.

"The reason for approving high-lysine corn for humans is because this animal
feed may end up on our dinner plates by accident. Even if proper testing of
this particular nutritionally altered corn allayed the concerns of New
Zealand scientists, What about the next one? Or the next?

"The system has to be robust enough to keep these products out of human
food: this is the point that FSANZ are ignoring. But if FSANZ say they can't
do that, the only responsible course is to test what happens when this GM
corn is cooked."

FSANZ says it has found no reasons for it not to be approved for human
consumption.

A decision by government on Monsanto's high-lysine corn application is
expected this Monday, 24 July. GE Free NZ is calling on the government to
stop this approval and recognise the Achilles heal in FSANZ's approach to
ensuring a safe food supply.

The government must keep good faith with consumers, and listen to the
scientists speaking out in the public interest. Crops that may end up in our
food must be proven fit for human consumption and not present a threat to
health.

An interview with Prof. Garth Cooper and Assoc. Prof. Jack Heinemann on
Radio NZ National revealed that the tests Monsanto ran were on "raw" corn..
Prof. Cooper says tests should be run using "cooked" corn. Cooking can
change a food's qualities.

It is understood that FSANZ will not make a "split" approval - i.e. it will
not approve an application for use as animal feed only and exclude human
use, as was the case with StarLink Corn. StarLink caused widespread
unexpected contamination in corn products as animal and human crops got
mixed.
It appears FSANZ is recommending acceptance of this Monsanto application
claiming Canada and the US have approved its use.

But recent contamination in pet food in the US, and in other products from
China shows that better regulation is urgently needed.

It would be unethical for the New Zealand government to stand by and allow
FSANZ to set a precedent by this approval and create a fundamental threat to
the integrity of the food supply.
ENDS
Media contact : Jon Carapiet 021 0507681

Background

FSANZ
http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/labelling-composition/publications/submissions-to-f
sanz/2006/a549.htm and
http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/standardsdevelopment/applications/applicatio
na549foodd2801.cfm

Jack Heinemann's submission
http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:ImE3ODAnxpsJ:www.inbi.canterbury.ac.nz/D
ocuments/Press%2520releases/final%2520non%2520tech%2520summary%2520ly038.pdf
+FSANZ+Application+A549+High+Lysine+Corn&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=nz

More on
www.inbi.canterbury.ac.nz/Documents/
Press%20releases/final%20non%20tech%20summary%20ly038.pdf
www.inbi.canterbury.ac.nz/Documents/ submissions/submissionDARA549.pdf

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