17/02/2013

World First' approval of 2-4-D Food Crops Based on Flawed Science

 

Information received under the Official Information Act by GE-Free NZ shows the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) are ignoring the toxicity risks of GE soybean 'A1073', by refusing to consider the combined effect of three chemicals and multiple novel genes in the food.

The information released about the MPI's view of the new soybean comes just as FSANZ completes a second assessment of the controversial 2,4-D transgenic soybean which will tolerate spraying with three different herbicides: 2,4-D, glyphosate and glufosinate.

It is not scientifically credible for the MPI and FSANZ to refuse to evaluate the combination of these chemicals and gene interactions, and to assume the combination will have the same risks as each chemical used separately.

FSANZ appears to be claiming a 'world first' for New Zealand by approving this food, even before it has been approved by the US. The Dow Agrichemical applications to the USDA to commercialise 2,4-D soy and corn, have been delayed until 2014 [1]. There is nation-wide public concern amongst Americans because of the rising levels of pesticides used in GE food crop production. [2]

"Why are FSANZ approving GE foods even before the US regulators have said it is safe for commercialisation? It is wrong to allow more herbicides like 2,4-D to be used on food,” said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE Free NZ (in food and environment).

"It is astonishing that regulators at FSANZ have already approved foods sprayed with 2,4-D before any other regulatory body. Why are the not demanding feeding studies in the interests of safety of the Australasian food chain?"

“There is a complete absence of any mammalian feeding study to justify the regulators deeming this food as safe,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-free NZ.

"The Minister has not responded to our letter asking for an urgent meeting about the imminent and dangerous approval of this soybean without even the most basic data from feeding studies."

The Minister must be warned that she lacks vital information to justify any approval of this new level of chemical toxicity in the food chain. The public also has the right to know what they will be eating.

The Minister cannot and must not assume the officials are providing good advice. The rush and lack of rigour with which FSANZ approaches approval of GE foods is a clear breach of sound regulation.
ENDS
References:
GE Free correspondence under the OIA, www.gefree.org.nz
[1] UPDATE 1-Dow's controversial new GMO corn delayed amid protests Reuters Fri Jan 18, 2013 http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/18/dow-biotech-idUSL1E9CIBN320130118

Benbrook C.M., (2012) Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. – the first sixteen years. (2012) Environmental Sciences Europe, Vol. 24:24 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/2190-4715-24-24

Contacts

Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 348 6731

Jon Carapiet 0210507681

back to directory