19/04/2013

Concern Raised on Impact of GE in Formula.

 

It is time that questions about the possible effects of GE ingredients in infant formula are answered by food safety officials.

Research is needed to establish if reports of infants suffering dehydration, vomiting or severe diarrhoea could be part of Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES), and if GE ingredients are implicated.

Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) is a non-IgE, gastrointestinal food hypersensitivity that causes profuse, repetitive vomiting sometimes with diarrhoea, leading to acute dehydration and lethargy. In a chronic form, FPIES may cause anaemia, hypoalbuminemia [1] and failure to thrive. [2]

This syndrome was relatively rare 5 years ago and now is reaching unprecedented levels, which is puzzling doctors and worrying parents. It appears that infants fed milk and soy formulas are the most at risk of this syndrome.

FPIES does not present as a classic allergy and does not show up to allergy testing. This has delayed diagnosis and caused extreme anxiousness for mothers with children with this syndrome.

A New Zealand Food Safety report [3] found that all four-soy infant based formulas contained GE soy protein. Levels of the GE soy ingredients have most likely risen since they were tested as more varieties of GE soy have been approved for planting in the soy producing nations of the US and Argentina.

The ingredients of many of the cow’s milk formulas also contain canola, soy oils and corn syrup, which have a high probability of being sourced from GE grains. Nestle has had to reformulate some of their infant formulas as parents were reporting the formulas were “making their children ill” [4].

Increasingly dairy cows are fed high levels of GE soy in their hard feed. In the US cows are injected with rGHB a GE hormone that increases milk supply. A question that must be asked here is does this GE hormone milk make up the infant formulas?

Concerned members of GE Free NZ would like to know is they’re a link between FPIES, genetically engineered soy protein isolates, GE soy feed or hormone injections.

“Are the increasing levels of GE soy in the diet triggering this new disease reaction? We have been worried that syndromes like this might go undetected in the ever increasing untested GE foods being approved," said Claire Bleakley, president of GE free NZ.

"Without any feeding studies or diagnostic tools to detect GE soy proteins, health professionals have no ability to rule out GE foods as a main factor in illness."

We ask that immediate steps be taken by the Minister to halt the current GE soy approvals until diagnostic tools are developed and comprehensive long term feeding studies are conducted on the soy's safety. The New Zealand Food Safety arm of the Ministry of Primary Industries are urged to start post monitoring of GE foods and advise health professionals on what diagnostic tools can be used to rule out any link between the GE soy and corn based foods and this potentially life threatening syndrome.

References:

[1] Hypoalbuminemia http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/hypoalbuminemia

[2] Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) http://www.iaffpe.org/docs/FPIES_Overview_HealthPro_2.pdf

[3] Assessment of compliance with Standard 1.5.2 Food produced using Gene Technology June 2003.

[4] Re-formulated-Nestle-infant-formula-tested-after-consumer-complaints http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Re-formulated-Nestle-infant-formula-tested-after-consumer-complaints

ENDS:

Contact: Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 348 6731

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