The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) must consider if the latest outbreak of E.coli in Europe has implications for its impending approval of GE corn and soy that are resistant to the herbicide 2, 4 -,D.
The complexities of antibiotic resistance and horizontal gene transfer (HGT) faced by those investigating the E. coli outbreak are directly related to the concerns raised by doctors about use of antibiotic marker genes in GE foods. Warnings of the potential recombination of different gene constructs entering the food chain have not prevented FSANZ approving scores of GE foods for import.
The questions about the reasons for the new E.coli strain emerging and the bacteria's resistance to a wide range of antibiotics must force a re-examination of assumptions about complex interactions in the food system including the use of GE constructs.
Whether novel genetic transformations and use of antibiotic markers in GE food have any relation to the new and virulent E-coli strain must be considered, even if only to be ruled out. There are obvious parallels with the medical concerns raised about genetically engineered synthetic genes becoming a factor in disease.
“There has been a lack of any consideration by the FSANZ as to the levels of GE in our diet and the possibility of recombination or transformation in gut bacteria of these genes,” said Claire Bleakley.
FSANZ response to study linking Cry1Ab protein in blood to GM foods
Aziz Aris and Samuel Leblanc titled ‘ Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada Reproductive Toxicology, in press, .
German E.coli hunt refocused on cucumbers http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2011/0609/1224298640432.html
The International company ENZA Zaden Beheer NV obtained patents for Cucumber varieties (Parisio, Corinto), tomatoes Anna May and Vespolino. The invention further relates to methods for producing a cucumber plant containing in its genetic material one or more transgenes and to the transgenic plants produced by that method and to methods for producing other cucumber cultivars derived from the hybrid ‘Paraiso’. The transgene confers resistance to an herbicide selected from the group consisting of imidazolinone, sulfonylurea, glyphosate, glufosinate, L-phosphinotbricin, triazine and benzonitrile.
Cucumber variety Paraiso United States Patent 7714197 http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7714197.html
Patent application title: Cucumber Hybrid 'Corinto' http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20100287639
US patent issued to ENZA Zaden on March 15th 2011 Tomato Hybrid “AnnaMay”
US patent issued to ENZA Zaden on April 12 2011 Tomato Hybrid Vespolino
Sweet pepper hybrid 9941819 http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2010/0115657.html
Patents in Class http://www.freepatentsonline.com/ACC-47-58.1FV-p4.html
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 3486731