12/11/2014

Government Freeze On Toxic Biotech Crops Urgently Needed

 

GE Free NZ is calling on the government to place a moratorium on all new GE food applications, withdraw all existing GE foods and conduct studies on their safety, following tests showing toxicity to animals and humans.

GE Free NZ was called before the Primary Industries Select committee last week, to talk to the “Freeze” petition signed by 1700 people in one day.

Nikki Kaye as the Minister for food safety tabled the “Freeze” petition; this petition followed alarming results from the first long term trial on GE corn sprayed with RoundUp, published by Professor Seralini and his team. The study [1] found that rats developed liver and kidney deterioration, immune system problems, blood anaemia and tumours.

Pig farmers in the US and Denmark have also reported adverse effects in stock, ending in economic loss from feeding GE soy to their animals. [2]

Argentinian Doctors have reported a doubling of cancer deaths and fetal deformities in areas where GE crops are grown and their associated pesticides used [3]. Canadian researchers [4] have discovered GE insecticide genes (Bt) in the foetuses of pregnant mothers.

“Current evidence shows that we are poisoning our children from conception. In some areas deformities are now commonplace. It is not ethical for us to be supporting the farming of biotech death crops", said Claire Bleakley, president of GE free NZ.

The Food Standards Australia New Zealand trans-Tasman body responsible for assessing the safety of new foods entering our food chain, have never declined a GE application. There are now 83 approved GE foods allowed into New Zealand.

The hearing before the Select Committee comes at the same time as a 25 million Euro study on the effects of feeding a herbicide-tolerant GM maize and its associated glyphosate herbicide, was launched in London. The Factor GMO study [3] will take 2 -3 years and be conducted with scientists who have never been associated with GE industry trials. The press release said

“Laboratory animals (rats) will be fed the GM food and pesticides according to a protocol whose scale, rigour and range of measurements will meet and exceed current international standards for testing the toxicity of GM foods, pesticides, and other chemicals”.

“It is appalling that the FSANZ Authority does not require long term safety testing of GE foods and their associated pesticides are not evaluated” said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-Free NZ.

"The independent studies and farmers' reports that show harm have been ignored or denigrated by the FSANZ officials. The public relies on FSANZ decisions, but face a life of chronic disease and sterility, if the independent studies are confirmed through further research."

To label foods derived from plants that have been genetically engineered would allow consumer choice, but is inadequate to address the clear evidence of toxicity from GE crops and their associated chemicals.

The Primary Production committee has been put on notice, especially in light of this new study. If they are truly interested in food safety, they must recommend to Parliament a moratorium on GE foods, until the results of the study are known.

References:

[1] Seralini. G-E., Clair. E., Mesnage. R., Gress. S., Defarge. N., Malatesta. M,. Hennequin. D. and de Vendomois. JS. (2014) Republished study: long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Environmental Sciences Europe 2014 :14 http://www.enveurope.com/content/pdf/s12302-014-0014-5.pdf

[2] Danish interview in English with Ib Borup Pedersen http://www.gmfreecymru.org/pivotal_papers/denmark_dossier.pdf

[3] Cancer deaths double in Argentina's GMO agribusiness areas, Lawrence Woodward, 24/8/2014. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2525411/cancer_deaths_double_in_argentinas_gmo_agribusiness_areas.html

[4] Aris A, Leblanc S. Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec , Canada . Reprod Toxicol (2011), doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2011.02.004 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21338670

[5] GMO safety study launched in London http://factorgmo.com/25-million-gmo-and-pesticide-safety-study-launched-in-london/

ENDS:

Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 348 6731

Jon Carapiet 0210507681

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