24/09/2012

Animal Tumours Demand FSANZ Follows Science not Opinion

 

FSANZ must distance itself from personal attacks including criticisms made by its own scientists and instead follow up peer reviewed research showing serious harm in animals fed GE corn (NK603) resistant to RoundUp.

A study published last week by Seralini et al, is the first study in 17 years to look at the lifetime consumption of RoundUp Ready (RR) GE maize in 200 rats (100 of each sex). The paper has been peer reviewed and published by a reputable Journal [1].

Yet the authors and their findings have been vilified by other scientists, including by FSANZ's scientific advisors, instead of the report being seen for what it is: Dangers from GE foods leading to an urgent signal of the need for further long-term feeding studies.

One of the attacking comments came from the Food Standards scientist Professor Brian Priestly [2], Director of the Australian Centre for Human Health Risk Assessment at Monash University. He is on the board of the Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee which assists the assessment of GE food applications for the trans-Tasman Food Standards Australia New Zealand Authority (FSANZ). He considered that the statistical assessments were “inconsistent” and questioned whether the findings were actually real as the statistical technique was “unusual”.

But such comments and ad-hominem attacks are no replacement for follow-up research. FSANZ must distance itself from personal attacks on scientists, and recall all the implicated maize then undertake follow-up research immediately, to see if the findings of harm and tumour growth are replicated.

"The findings have serious implications that must be followed up. There is evidence of significant risk for consumers, especially children and people with reduced immunity, that can no longer be ignored by FSANZ,” said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free NZ in food and environment.

FSANZ can no longer dodge the clear scientific evidence that their regulatory approach is fundamentally flawed, and not fit for purpose.

“If the studies had found no problem with this food, I wonder if the dissenting scientists would be heralding these results as the best and most robust ever completed?” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ.

Since 2000 there have been over 60 GE applications [3] with only industry-funded animal feeding studies presented to FSANZ by the GE applicants. They range from 90 days to 24 hours on as few as 5 rats of each sex, with no histological or blood parameters evaluated.

Even these limited studies have shown adverse effects on organs, immune and reproductive systems with some leading to unexplained deaths of the animals.

Particularly alarming is the fact that last GE food applications approved by FSANZ were 2,4-D (A1046, A1042) with no feeding studies conducted at all. This is being followed by an application for maize and soy resistant to both 2,4-D and Glyphosate, opening for submissions this October.

"The same scientists have recommended that FSANZ went ahead and approved the GE Corn and Soy," said Claire Bleakley.

“FSANZ disregarded and dismissed all public concerns about the absence of feeding data, and accepted the applicant's assurances that the food was safe. Why did they not question the lack of any data when they are so ready to vilify peer reviewed published findings?”

FSANZ assessors have shown that they are highly conflicted. Their subjective opinions not objectivity, drive their approach to science and they are not open to considering the dangers of GE foods. As FSANZ is a trans -Tasman body, New Zealanders have no way of challenging the approval decisions and have no jurisdiction in Australian courts.

The Board of FSANZ should resign in light of their repeated failure to consider public health that might arise from the results of Seralini's long-term scientific feeding studies, dramatically improve their regulation and immediately recall all GE RoundUp Ready resistant foods.

References:
[1] Seralini. G-E., Clair. E., Mesnage. R., Gress. S., Defarge. N., Malatesta. M,. Hennequin. D. and de Vendomois. JS. (2012) Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicity. Vol: 50, (11) 4221–4231http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005

[2] Study on cancer and GM maize – experts respond, Science Media Centre, http://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/2012/09/20/study-on-cancer-and-gm-maize-experts-respond/?utm_source=HEADS-UP+21-27+SEP++2012&utm_campaign=SMC+Heads-Up&utm_medium=email

[3] Food Standards applications and current status http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/gmfoods/gmcurrentapplication1030.cfm

ENDS:
Jon Carapiet 0210507681
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 348 6731

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