03/11/2009

NZ Exports and Health at Risk from GE Corn

 

Calls for New Zealand Food Authorities to withdraw approval of a new form of GE corn demands urgent action, or risks harming New Zealanders and the New Zealand quality brand name.

As well as impacting consumers directly, New Zealand exports could be damaged if manufacturers using 'local and imported ingredients' end up incorporating the GE corn in foods marketed internationally as 'coming from New Zealand'.

Monsanto's high-lysine GE corn (LY038) has been the subject of stark warnings by independent scientists that the product when cooked could create compounds linked to serious disease.

The GE corn has been withdrawn in Europe having been developed by Monsanto as a new form of animal feed. But lack of effective separation of this form of GE corn from human food has prompted Monsanto to gain approval for human consumption.

There is a cost to New Zealand public in trying to avoid this GE corn on top of the unknown health effects that may affect susceptible people. GE Free NZ believes this cost far outweighs the benefit that this untested, unsafe corn is approved for.

"There are clear indications the corn, when heated, presents a health risk to people and on that basis alone its approval should be rescinded," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"But the risk to our export reputation also needs to be considered. Allowing importation of the GE corn, or other corn contaminated by it, puts New Zealand export manufacturers in the firing line."

New Zealand's reputation for high-quality, safe food is of paramount importance to our economic wellbeing. The San-Lu contamination incident in China indicates how vulnerable Fonterra and all exporters are to worldwide concern for food safety.

"Allowing importation of high-lysine GE corn is effectively approval of reverse-contamination of New Zealand-made products. Given the decision not to have the product approved in Europe, it is vital FSANZ wake up to the real risks to human health and our exports," says Jon Carapiet.

Even if we accept the claim that the EU approval has been cancelled for 'commercial reasons', what sense does it make for New Zealanders to be put at risk, and our export-reputation undermined by a product that has no place in the human food chain.

ENDS

Jon Carapiet 0210507681

Claire Bleakley 027 348 6731

References

Europe balks at GE corn in NZ, By PAUL GORMAN - The Press (Christchurch) Last updated 05:00 02/11/2009.

Green Party Media Release - 2 November 2009 NZ must withdraw approval for GE food.






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