04/05/2014

Risks of Pesticide Induced Cancer Must Not Be Ignored By Advisory Council

 

New Zealand's new Food Safety and Assurance Advisory Council [1] must fill a gap in official food safety standards and assure New Zealand consumers as well as export nations against emerging risks. This includes the Council urgently considering the impact on food safety of the last three GE food approvals that have a cocktail of high levels of the pesticides 2,4-D and mesotrione.

In February, the Minister of Food Safety, Nikki Kaye, approved for entry GE soybeans tolerant to the herbicide mesotrione, sold as Callisto. Officials seem to have completely ignored the increased risk of cancer when allowing GE food sprayed with mesotrione to enter the food chain.

The approval of mesotrione (Callisto) herbicide resistant soybean has the potential to devastate public health, but there is no place for the public to express these concerns. These GE foods also have significant nutritional changes, but there is an alarming absence of data on the effects when eaten.

The new Advisory Council must address this gap in oversight with its expert staff providing a place that is independent from undue industry influence and can consider submissions on GE foods without an agenda to rubber-stamp application without data to justify approvals.

'There is a need to stop the increase in pesticides in imported GE foods and to restore food sovereignty in the interests of New Zealand citizens," said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ in food and environment.

"Mesotrione is a new herbicide formulation that replaced atrazine. Evidence of toxic effects of atrazine has caused the European Union (EU) to ban its use, due to its disruption of the male and female hormones testosterone and eostragen, which caused feminization of amphibians and breast tumours in rats."[2]

Callisto’s active ingredient Mesotrione [3] also has an adjuvant, ethylene glycol, to strengthen its activity. This herbicide blocks the synthesis of carotenoids and the Syngenta data sheet explains

“Callisto (Mesotrione) inhibits an enzyme which in turn inhibits carotenoid biosynthesis. Carotenoid pigments protect chlorophyll from decomposition by sunlight”.

Due to this, the restrictions on planting following Callisto application are
1) allow 6 months before sowing white clover or ryegrass
2) allow 1 year before sowing soybeans, sorghum, potatoes and sweet corn
3) allow 18 months before sowing peas, dry beans, snap beans, red clover, alfalfa, and other rotational crops .
4) Withholding period 70 days from last application.

“Callisto is a highly toxic herbicide creating persistent residues in the soil” said Claire Bleakley President of GE Free NZ
“The GE tolerant soybeans will absorb the toxic herbicide into the edible seeds, which has the possibility of causing thyroid disfunction, endocrine disruption, cancer and blindness”[4].

However, the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) did not consider this in their recommendation for approval into the human food chain. The Minister did not even question the lack of any evidence for this approval and just ticked it through.

“There is official disinterest to look deeper into health effects that GMO’s cause and it appears that the authorities are deliberately ignoring information. The new Advisory Council must serve to protect the integrity of the food system for people wanting clean, safe food,” said Ms. Bleakley.
References:
[1]Food Safety Assurance Advisory council http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/food-safety-assurance-advisory-council-established[
[2] Tyrone Hayes: The toxic baby: TED TALKS: documentary, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-omq_-WBDlo
[3] Mesotrione - http://css.cals.cornell.edu/extension/cropping-up-archive/wcu_vol12n06-2002a1mesotrione.pdf
[4] Vitamin A and Thyroid Health http://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/articles/vitamin-a-thyroid-health/

ENDS
Jon Carapiet - National Spokesman 0210507681
Claire Bleakley- President GE-Free NZ president@gefree.org.nz 06 3089842 / 027 348 6731

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