27/10/2012

Authority Begins Approval of New Generation '2,4-D Soy'

 

The approval process for a type of GE soy designed to withstand being sprayed with 2,4-D and two other herbicides has been announced by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).(1)

Reported in the latest Notification Circular, Application A1073 –Food derived from Herbicide-tolerant Soybean DAS-44406-6 seeks permission for New Zealand and Australian consumers to be exposed to the latest in a new generation of GE foods crops that resist, (and absorb) multiple herbicides.

So called 'stacking' of novel genes makes the soybean tolerant to 2,4-D, glufosinate ammonium and glyphosate, allowing increased use, and exposure of people to those chemicals in food.

However the FSANZ process of approval should be halted as it insufficient to assess the safety of such foods.

"FSANZ's approval system is not fit for purpose. Until officials adopt the necessary testing and safety standards they should not be accepting this or similar applications," says Jon Carapiet, national spokesman for GE-Free NZ in food and environment.

Official arguments against the need for independent long-term safety testing cannot be justified given evidence of tumour-formation in the first 2-year animal feeding studies conducted on a GE food.(2)

Irrespective of heated scientific debate, and orchestrated vitriol (3) surrounding these latest findings of cancer and tumour growth, the need for comprehensive follow-up study is clear.(4)

"The issue is not about one study. Those scientists critical of the latest independent studies showing tumours in rats must be held to account.They need to be in uproar about FSANZ approving foods with a cocktail of chemicals without any research on the health effects of these combinations," says Jon Carapiet.

"The pro-GE science lobby need to be repeating the disputed experiments, and most importantly, proposing a methodology for testing these next-generation GE products."

The important conclusion from a decade-long global science debate on safety testing of GE foods, is that FSANZ protocols are fundamentally flawed. To meet their legisated responsibilities there is need for new protocols requiring independent data, including:

- long-term testing for life-time and intergenerational effects
- tests using 'real-use' toxins and herbicide formulations
- combined effects of chemical cocktails being used

The FSANZ approval process should be halted. Minister Kate Wilkinson has a duty to work with her counterparts in Australia to correct the serious flaws in the system. The new generation of GE crops makes it even more urgent this be done, especially as the public are powerless against FSANZ.

"The Minister is the only line of defence. The FSANZ system has no genuine consideration of the public or consumer view. They never say no - evidenced by scores of GE foods approved without any independent safety testing,' says Jon Carapiet.

Most people would want to make a submission against the introduction of untested multi-herbicide resistant GE food, but the Minster must explain why they should bother. Previous requests for FSANZ to introduce safety testing in light of peer-reviewed research that reveals serious gaps in regulation demanding further study, have all been dismissed.

It is now up to the Ministers for food safety and consumer protection on both sides of the Tasman, to stop FSANZ approving DAS 44406-6 and overhaul their whole process.
ENDS
Media Contact - Jon Carapiet 0210507681

References
1)
http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/foodstandards/changingthecode/notificationcirculars/current/notificationcircular5697.cfm2) 2)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637
3)
http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/121022.htm
4)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/28/study-gm-maize-cancer

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