A battle taking place thousands of miles away in which farmers are increasing the level of toxic chemicals used with GE crops, is putting the health of New Zealanders at risk.
That is the warning to be taken from new research in the US showing that GE crops have actually increased levels of toxic sprays over the last decade and a half.(1)
The peer-reviewed research by Dr Charles Benbrook, Washington State University, published in Environmental Sciences Europe, shows that today抯 GE crops have led to the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds and has brought about substantial increases in the number and volume of herbicides applied.
Now the battle against super-weeds is being taken to another level with the introduction of types of GE food crops that resist being sprayed with 2,4-D, representing a new level of threat to human health.
Without any testing or safety data, newly created 2,4-D-resistant GE foods have already been rubber-stamped for sale in New Zealand by FSANZ (Food Standards Australia NZ).
"New Zealander farmers are fortunate not to be facing the nightmare that GE crops are becoming for farmers in the US. But consumer health is being put at risk from increased exposure to toxic chemicals in imported food as our food regulators authorise food sprayed with 2,4-D," said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free NZ in food and environment.
"If you talk to land-care workers who have seen the effects on other plants of spray-drift from 2,4-D in non-food applications, you will understand why we do not want 2,4-D in our food chain.
Human health is now the collateral damage in an unsustainable war against superweeds."
With new genetically engineered forms of corn and soybeans tolerant of 2,4-D the volume of 2,4-D sprayed could drive herbicide usage upward by another approximate 50%. The magnitude of increases in herbicide use on herbicide-resistant hectares has dwarfed the reduction in insecticide use on Bt crops over the past 16 years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
GE-Free NZ has written to the Minister Kate Wilkinson, and FSANZ urging a halt to the approval of 2,4-D-resistant GE crops into the food chain, and withdrawal of scores of other previously-approved GE foods which have had no proper safety testing or monitoring.
Jon Carapiet 0210507681
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 /027 348 6731