28/09/2011

Official Smokescreen Undermines Science & Food Safety

 

Officials at Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) are using spin to sideline published research on the impact of GM foods on animals and are abandoning sound science needed to protect public health.

FSANZ has again sacrificed the scientific approach and dismissed the urgent need for follow-up research after newly-published analysis of 19 animal feeding studies [1] found serious health effects from sterility to kidney and liver damage.

Officials have also dismissed other scientific studies conducted over the past decade, turning a blind eye to evidence of risks from the very same types of GE foods that officials have been deeming as safe and allowing on sale.

Rather than accepting there is a need for further research, FSANZ are recommending the approval GE corn and soy resistant to 2-4,D, despite having no parameters set on Maximum Residue Level in the diet, as 2,4-D chemical was never intended for use on human food [2]

“Unfortunately it appears that officials are favouring spin and poor-quality data from applicants that fail to meet the Codex international guidelines, rather than address the substantive issues identified in independent peer reviewed research,” says Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ in Food and Environment.

In an astonishing sleight-of-hand FSANZ [3] has evaluated 13 peer reviewed published studies on GMO's that raise concerns over the animal’s health effects. FSANZ say the studies are “unsubstantiated assumptions” with a “reliance on statistics”, despite statistics being generally considered a fundamental of the scientific method.

Of the Australia CSIRO research on GE peas [4] FSANZ claim that there is no proof the peas created a new allergen and therefore dismiss the concerning implications of the study. Left unmentioned is the fact that the mice fed the GE peas suffered immune system reactions and the scientists conducting the trial considered the effects serious enough to immediately halt the 10 year research and destroy the peas. The risks to human health from similar effects in other GE foods remain unknown and unmanaged.

In assessing another study into the fate of GE constructs digested in the small intestine, FSANZ admit that DNA can pass over into the blood stream saying:

"The cells of the human body have effective mechanisms of defence against the uptake, integration and continued expression of foreign DNA from food or from the environment."

However this does not address the fact that GE feeding studies found that animals suffer from kidney and liver damage to a significantly greater extent than control animals.

‘It is concerning that FSANZ arrogance is choosing to overlook these findings. They appear to suffer from 'Tobacco lobby’ syndrome leaving the next generation to deal with adverse effects and mop up the damage,” says Claire Bleakley.

Lost in the FSANZ smokescreen is the internationally recognised need for GE foods to be regulated for safety due to the unknown effects of the foreign gene carrying viral and bacterial DNA. This regulation loses all credibility when it relies on the rejection of statistics and published peer-reviewed data.

The scientific findings dismissed by FSANZ are compelling evidence that regulators are not carrying out their “duty of care” to the public. All GE foods should have comprehensive long term studies before being released into the animal and human food chain. Anything less is bad science, and bad governance, undermining the fundamentals of food safety regulation.

References:

1) Séralini G-E., Mesnage R., Clair E., Gress S., de Vendômois J and Cellier D., Genetically modified crops safety assessments: present limits and possible improvements. Environmental Sciences Europe 2011 23:10.doi:10.1186/2190-4715-23-10http://www.enveurope.com/content/pdf/2190-4715-23-10.pdf

GM Feed Toxic, New Meta Analysis Confirms - A meta-analysis on 19 studies confirms kidneyand liver toxicity in rats and mice fed on GM soybean and maize, representing more than 80 percent of all commercially available GM food; it also exposes gross inadequacies of current risk assessment Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji http://www.i-is.org.uk/GM_Feed_toxic_new_metaanalysis_confirms.php
http://www.mediafreedominternational.org/2011/08/29/organ-disruption-linked-to-genetically-modified-crops/

Zhang et al.: "Exogenous plant MIR168a specifically targets mammalian LDLAP1: an evidence of cross-kingdom regulation by microRNA " Cell Research, September 20, 2011. http://www.nature.com/cr/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/cr2011158a.html

[2] Application A1042 - Food derived from herbicide-tolerant corn line DAS-40278-9 Approval Report - 19 August 2011 http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles/A1042%20GM%20Corn%20DAS-40278-9%20AppR%20FINAL.pdf

Application A1046 - Food derived from herbicide-tolerant soybean line DAS-68416-42nd Assessment Report - 6 July 2011

Supporting Document 1 - Safety assessment report

http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles/A1046%20GM%20Soybean%20DAS-68416-4%202AR%20SD1%20Safety%20Assess.pdf

3) FSANZ Response to Studies Cited as Evidence of Adverse Effects from GM Foods Table updated: September 2011 http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/gmfoods/gmtableofstudies.cfm
4) Prescott VE, Campbell PM, Moore A, Mattes J, Rothenberg ME, Foster PS, Higgins TJV and Hogan SP. Transgenic expression of bean a-amylase inhibitor in peas results in altered structure and immunogenicity. J Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2005, 53, 9023-30. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/TPTMMI.php?printing=yes

ENDS:

Claire Bleakley 06 3089842/ 027 348 6731

Jon Carapiet 0210507681

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