13/01/2013

Ministry Passes Buck to Disputes Committee On GE Food

 

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has advised GE-Free NZ that the best avenue to express concerns about how GE foods are scientifically assessed is through the Regulatory Disputes Select Committee.

The responses allows the Ministry to sidestep issues raised by GE Free NZ and four other Australian groups in a joint submission made to the Food Standards (FSANZ) Authority concerning the absence of any evidence on the safety of Dow Agrochemical's multi-herbicide (2,4-D, Glyphosate, Glufosinate) tolerant GE soybean [1] for entry into the food chain.

By suggesting a Select Committee should consider current serious failings in scientific assessment of GE food, the Ministry is ignoring its responsibility for erroneous decisions that are being made right now.

Over 30,000 pages of information on the new GE soy that was provided to GE Free NZ under the Official Information Act show evidence that the soybean contained a lower level of vital nutrients than the non-GE parent line and that even after cooking the transgene was not destroyed.

The high levels of anti nutrients could further affect the absorption of vital nutrients leading to toxicity. However, there were no feeding studies on the soy to see if these changes caused harm if eaten.

"The need for long term feeding research to assess safety is now established. The Ministry has no justification in ignoring this fact," says Jon Carapiet, national spokesman for GE-Free NZ in food and environment.

In 2012 the first ever life time study by a French team at CRIIGEN found that feeding laboratory animals GE maize tolerant to RoundUp, seriously compromised the immune system and vital organs, liver and kidney, of the animals [2]. They also detected an increased level of endocrine related tumours in rats fed GE, and these started when the rats were only four months old.

FSANZ [3] and the Minister in charge of Public Health, Kate Wilkinson have dismissed Seralini's findings saying the study had many deficiencies, methodological and interpretive limitations. They are wrong to have done so.

“The study showed serious adverse effects on animals eating this corn, and demands comprehensive further research. This is the first time that a lifetime study has been completed on any mammal," says Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ in food and environment.

“This makes us wonder whether the Minister is being briefed properly on the dangers of GE foods, or if she is being misinformed in order to avoid obstacles to trade.”

On January the 15th the CRIIGEN team will be delivering their raw data to a notary of the European Parliament and they have said they would make the data public “as soon as the regulatory agencies or Monsanto do the same for their data, or when governments consent to publish the industry data”.

“We ask the ESR and MPI to consult with the European Parliament so that they can properly brief the Minister whose duty it is to authorise GE foods," says Claire Bleakely.

"Without long term feeding studies on this GE soy’s effects the Minister cannot approve it as safe to eat."

References:

www.gefree.org.nz

[1] Application A1073 : Food derived from Herbicide-tolerant Soybean DAS-44406-6
http://www.gefree.org.nz/reports-and-submissions/

[2] 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) 4221–4231http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005 A 1073

[3] GM Foods consumer Information.
http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/gmfoods/gmfactsheets/responsetosralinipap5676.cfm


ENDS:
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 348 67321
Jon Carapiet 021 0507681

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