18/03/2013

Food Safety Regulations Under Scrutiny

 

The Regulatory Disputes Select Committee met on the 14th March to look at a submission by GE Free New Zealand to "stop the clock" on the approval of a transgenic soybean designed to withstand a cocktail of three chemicals: 2,4-D, RoundUp and Glufosinate. The reproductive and endocrine disrupting nature of these sprays [1] have raised concerns around the World.

The submission was made when the Trans Tasman Food Safety Authority (FSANZ) recommended that the Food Safety Ministers of the Australian states and New Zealand approve this soy into the food chain, a World first.

This is despite the fact that there are no feeding studies conducted on the soy, even though our own Ministry of Primary Industries recommended that allergen testing be done. The FSANZ approval report dismisses the New Zealand expert recommendation and say they "consider there is no scientific justification for including data on endogenous allergens in GM food safety assessments". They have now completely removed this requirement from their Supporting Document 1(SD1) [2]

The increasing data on the dangers of GE foods casting doubt on the long term safety of GE foods [3]. This has compelled the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to amend their regulations which now require that all new GE food applications have a 90 day feeding study on the whole food as part of their risk assessments.

“This is an interesting position to be in as our Food Safety Authority has recommended that the soy be approved for the food chain without any trials being conducted to ensure that it is safe,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ in food and environment.

"If this food is found to have risks when tested for the EU what will it mean for the credibility of the FSANZ scientific process that relies on an absence of data and industry assurances of safety?"

Without any feeding data it is only industry and FSANZ assessors' opinions that are being considered, not scientific findings.

Minister Nikki Kaye, the Minister representing New Zealand on the Council of Australian Governments COAG Forum [4] must take the absence of safety data and the dismissal of New Zealand scientific expert recommendation into account when she meets to approve the GE food.

GE Free NZ is calling on her to stop the clock to conduct mandatory feeding studies that meet the EU standard.

References:

[1] Annex IV ANSES -http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/supporting/pub/392e.htm

[2] Approval Report -Application A1073 - Food derived from Herbicide-tolerant Soybean DAS-44406-6 (p.15) http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles/A1073_AppR.pdf

[3] 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) 4221–4231. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005

[4] The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Forum http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/foodsecretariat-members.htm

ENDS:
Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842 / 027 3486731

Jon Carapiet 0210507681

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