19/02/2009

Scientists Condemn Human Experiment with GE Food

 

The use of human subjects including children as young as 6 years old, in trials of a novel GE food is being condemned by scientists internationally and by GE Free NZ (in food and environment).

GE 'golden rice' has been promoted as a solution to malnutrition, despite other readily-available sources of vitamin A. Deficiencies of the vitamin are a cause of blindness amongst the poor.

The experimental rice has been highly contentious and now scientists are condemning feeding experiments being undertaken with human subjects by other researchers at Tufts University. The plans include testing the food on children. One report states:
"This project is to determine the vitamin A value (equivalence) of dietary provitamin A carotenes from spinach, Golden Rice, and pure -carotene (-C) in oil. These experiments will be conducted in children (ages 6-8) with/without adequate (marginal deficiency) vitamin A nutrition." *(3)

"Allowing human feeding trials of this experimental rice is highly concerning and a frightening breach of human rights," says Jon Carapiet from GE-Free New Zealand.

"The New Zealand government must make its opposition clear and be a voice in the international community for the ethical use of science, just as we are for nuclear weapons."

Alarm about the experiments comes just days after the US authorities approved the first drug produced in GE animals following human clinical trials. The decision will increase commercial pressure for unethical experiments that are premature or exploit people in human trials. The predicted gold-rush to 'pharm' animals for medicines will impact New Zealand.

It threatens to transform Fonterra and New Zealand's reputation for the worse, as New Zealand is targetted for the production of pharmaceuticals in GE cows, sheep and other animals.

'Pharming' will blur the distinction between food and chemicals, disrupting our brand image far more significantly than the recent melamine contamination in milk powder in China.

"John Key and the National government must protect ethical standards in commercialised science at home and internationally," says Jon Carapiet. "It is morally right and in the national interest to speak out in opposition to unethical human experimentation whether it's for GE food or for GE medicine."
ENDS
Contact: Jon Carapiet 0210507681

References
TUFTS UNIVERSITY INVOLVEMENT IN GOLDEN RICE FEEDING TRIALS

Professor Robert Russell, Professor Emeritus, Friedman
School of Nutrition Science and Policy Tufts University
School of Medicine 711 Washington Street Boston, MA 02111-
1524
Email: rob.russell@tufts.edu

Dear Professor Russell,

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