23/06/2013

Food Safety Minister to table “GE Freeze” Petition.

 

Food Safety Minister has confirmed that she will table in the House a 1700 signature petition asking her to "Freeze all new GE applications and review existing ones". A 3000 + signature petition out lining the same concerns will also be tabled in the Australian Parliament this week.

"This petition was gathered by thousands of citizens who participated in the March Against Monsanto to raise concerns of the serious health problems associated with GE in the diet" said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ.

The Minister acknowledges that she does not agree with the petitions points.

Her reasons are “existing evidence does not indicate that such a risk exists”, she then goes says “International guidelines indicate that animals feeding studies are not necessary for GM food safety issues, due to inherent issues with design of the studies”.

This comment comes when the first long term farmer study on animals consuming GE foods has been published. For many years farmers have been relating concerns over the adverse effects on digestive and reproductive disorders they are seeing in their animals.

An International study published in the June issue of Journal of Organic Systems on the long term toxicology of pigs fed a combined genetically modified (GM) soy and GM maize diet [1] has confirmed that there are significant health issues from GE foods on the digestive systems especially stomachs and the uterine systems of pigs.

Associate Professor Dr. Judy Carman* was the lead researcher of the ground breaking double blind study that was conducted over 22.7 weeks; the accepted commercial life span from weaning to slaughter, using 168 newly weaned pigs in a commercial U.S. piggery. The weaned pigs were randomly assigned to two groups of 84 pigs; equal numbers of male and female pigs were present in the GE and control group. The corn contained double and triple-stacked GE varieties. There were no differences between pigs fed the GE and non-GE diets for feed intake, weight gain, mortality, and routine blood biochemistry measurements. The GE-fed pigs had a 32% higher rate of severe stomach inflammation compared to 12% of non-GM-fed pigs (p=0.004). The severe stomach inflammation was four times greater in GE-fed males compared to non-GE fed males and over two fold higher in the GE-fed females compared to non-GE fed females. The uterine weights were over 25% heavier in the GE fed pigs.

“We believe that results these could be reflected in the human digestive system meaning the very food we sustain ourselves with is also endangering our health,” said Claire Bleakley, “We fully support Dr. Carman’s and her colleagues conclusions that in light of the studies findings there needs to be further long-term consumption studies conducted on GE foods.”

Long term feeding studies on all GE applications would bring the FSANZ assessments into line with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) guidelines who require a minimum of 90 days feeding study for all GE applications. We would also like to be considered a guidance document on post market monitoring and diagnostic plan of GE foods [3].

“We are pleased the Minister is going to forward the issues raised in the petition and hope that she might review her reasons after reading the studies we provided her with and this significant farmer substantiated GE food study before she tables the petition”.
We are still awaiting the outcome of the meeting of the Regulatory Review committee.

* Associate Professor Judy Carman is an epidemiologist and biochemist and director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research in Adelaide, Australia.

References:
[1] Carman J., Vlieger H., Veer Steeg L., Sneller V., Robinson G., Jones C, Haynes J. & Edwards J. (2013) A long-term toxicology study on pigs fed a combined genetically modified (GM) soy and GM maize diet Journal of Organic Systems Vol.8 No.1 http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/81/abstracts/8106.html
Find a clear summary of the study here: http://gmojudycarman.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Summary-of-research.pdf
Find the full paper here: http://gmojudycarman.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/The-Full-Paper.pdf
Website GMOJudyCarman.org with full information on Dr. Judy Carman’s work: http://www.gmojudycarman.org
Minister receives 1000+ signature petition to review GE foods. http://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20130506.htm
[3] Genetically Modified Organisms (last updated, June 2013) http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/topics/topic/gmo.htm

ENDS:
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 3486731

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