18/11/2015

NZ Regulators Are Ignoring Pesticide Additives that Damage Human Health

 

NZ food authorities have failed to properly assess the safety of co-additives used with the pesticides in scores of GE pesticide-tolerant foods. The European Food Safety Authority has supported the findings of a recently published study by Mesnage et al, that found these additives are able to cause genetic damage. [1]

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is assessing yet another GE food tolerant to pesticides. If approved, this will be the 89th approval of a GE food into New Zealand.

The assessment regime, however, is seriously flawed and that no testing is done on the cocktail formulation of chemicals as they are used in the final products.

Approval of such foods leaves the public exposed to risks from ingestion of GE foods, with higher levels of pesticide residues, that have been linked to chronic organ damage and tumour development.

Despite calls by independent scientists to change the approval process, FSANZ does not require feeding studies on animals or humans when assessing novel GE foods. Instead FSANZ relies on the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVM) to set the pesticide guidelines. This body has admitted they have never assessed GE foods - or the pesticides and additives they contain - for human consumption.

The EFSA said their earlier assessment did not consider the full herbicide formulations but only the designated “active ingredient”. They have now admitted that the confidential co-additives or adjuvants in the pesticide formulations may be the cause of the genotoxic effects seen in safety studies. Studies have shown when ingested into the mammalian system that, in their full formulations, glyphosate-based herbicides become over one thousand times more toxic than glyphosate on its own.

"The latest scientific studies are a significant step forward in the debate over herbicide toxicity. They call into question the safety of all GE foods tolerant to the Roundup herbicide that FSANZ has approved for the New Zealand food chain.” said Dr. Elvira Dommisse, speaking for GE-Free NZ.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has now called for the toxicity of glyphosate to be reclassified. They have further clarified why their previous risk assessment for glyphosate suggested it was safe, in disagreement with the World Health Organisation body International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), who assessed it as a probable carcinogen. [2]

GE-Free NZ calls on FSANZ to immediately withdraw GE pesticide-tolerant foods, and to make long-term toxicity studies mandatory as part of the applicant safety requirements for entry into the food chain. To only assess selected individual active ingredients that the applicants have chosen to be tested, is totally inadequate.

References

[1] Mesnage R, Defarge N, Spiroux de Vendômois J, Séralini GE. Potential toxic effects of glyphosate and its commercial formulations below regulatory limits. Food Chem Toxicol. 2015; 84:133-53.

[2] EFSA explains risk assessment: Glyphosate -http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/corporate_publications/files/efsaexplainsglyphosate151112en_1.pdf

ENDS:

Jon Carapiet-spokesman 0210507681

Dr. Elvira Dommisse – 0210575123

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