25/08/2010

Detection of GE DNA In Animal Flesh Renews Safety Concerns

 

The discovery that GE DNA has been detected in the flesh of animals that have eaten GE foods [1] shows that the Food Safety Authorities are wrong in giving blanket assurances that “gene transfer from GM plants to the intestinal epithelium, either directly or via the intestinal microflora, is unlikely to occur.” [2]

Prior to 2005 the trans–Tasman FSANZ made no requirement for feeding trials to test the effects of GE animal-feed. Even when studies on GE corn, cotton and soy varieties were completed after safety testing was introduced, data were disregarded. To this day there are still no diagnostic tools developed to detect if GE is a causal factor in rising levels of digestive ill-health in the population.

However, studies of animals reared on GE-feed that have been conducted by independent and industry scientists show deleterious changes to organs, immune and digestive systems with high levels of spontaneous abortions and sterility in ensuing generations [3] prompting medical professionals to warn consumers about the dangers [4].

The latest research finding has major implications for companies such as Inghams and Coles (Australia) who have relied on FSANZ's reassurances to justify use of GE-feed in chicken products sold in New Zealand and Australia. Support by Kellogg's (US) for use of GE crops in breakfast cereals has also prompted a consumer backlash, risking an international boycott of Kellogg's products [5].

“The rising levels of Genetically Engineered food products in the human diet means the negative effects observed in animal feeding studies are likely to be echoed in the human population. Medical professionals have repeatedly warned that susceptible consumers such as pregnant women and the young, are at risk from the very foods they rely on to keep them healthy,” said Claire Bleakley of GE free NZ in food and environment.

“Companies that use GE in their products include brands from South Africa being sold by Progressive Enterprises through their Woolworths, Countdown and Foodtown stores. These products use GE corn and GE soy despite clear evidence of their potential to cause disease. Yet the manufacturers and supermarkets have been unwilling to develop diagnostic tools to show their GE foods are safe."

It is highly concerning that the FSANZ and NZFSA have not supported consumers wanting to avoid GE foods. They are failing to monitor or enforce the labeling regime promised to the public.

" We are warning consumers to be careful when they buy any products containing corn, soy or vegetable oils," says Claire Bleakley.

"There is a real risk that food companies are getting away with selling foods loaded with hidden GE-derived ingredients but keeping the public in the dark."

For consumers who want to avoid GE foods the latest Greenpeace Australia "True Food" website and the GE-free policy website [6] list products from companies who have listened to consumer concerns and have policies to avoid GE ingredients.

"The issue is one of trust," says Claire Bleakely. "Major brands like Kellogg's and Ingham's have a duty to keep faith with the consumer, especially when scientific evidence indicating the potential for harm from GE foods is being ignored by the regulatory authorities."

References:

[1] Researchers find genes from transgenic plants in milk and animal organs
http://www.testbiotech.org/

[2] Response To Article Entitled “GE Foods And Human Health Safety
http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/search/?keywords=Transgenic+foods.

[3] de Vendômois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Séralini GE. A Comparison of the Effects of Three
GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726.
http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

[4] Position paper on Genetically Modified Foods. American Academy of Environmental Medicine
(AAEM), 2009, http://www.aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

[5] "Kellogg's admits that it uses genetically engineered ingredients, but it refuses to label
these risky foods." http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/media-center/news-releases/kellogg-s-corn-contamination-c/
http://www.capwiz.com/grassrootsnetroots/issues/alert/?alertid=16041611&type=CU

[6] See www.gmfreepolicy.com

ENDS

Contacts: Claire Bleakley 06-3089842 / 027 3486731

Jon Carapiet 021 0507681

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