Is 2,4-D laden GM cotton seed oil, banned in EU, being used in New Zealand restaurants?


Genetically engineered (GE) cottonseed oil containing the toxic chemical 2,4-D may be entering our foods, as restaurants move away from using canola oil.

The European Union has recently voted to ban GE crops tolerant to 2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) citing independent research that has shown there are harmful health outcomes from the chemical affecting embryo development and causing endocrine disruption. [1]

Oils derived from GE crops are exempt from labelling. Consumer choice is being removed. There is no requirement to label these oils or to alert consumers that cottonseed, canola, or corn oil sourced from GE plants is sprayed with 2,4-D or other pesticides.

The defoliant 2,4-D is a key element of the devastating Agent Orange herbicide used in Vietnam during the war there, where 2,4-D has caused intergenerational deformities and deaths. In 2014 Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) approved food from GM cottonseed that is engineered to withstand high applications of 2,4-D. [2]

“The safety of consumers is at risk and we should be protecting people from food dangers that are chemically related,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ. “We should be following the EU's example and withdraw these risky foods to prevent increased exposure to chemicals known to be toxic.”

The dangers of increased chemical residues in GE foods are real, yet they have never undergone clinical testing to measure adverse effects in people who consume them. Long term animal feeding studies have, however, shown damage to internal organs, liver and kidney failure, and tumour development. [3][4]

“It is time FSANZ took the high levels of chemical contamination in GE foods seriously. They must stop relying on industry opinions and assurances, when there is growing proof of dangerous effects,” said Claire Bleakley.

Food related illnesses have tripled in the last 7 years. Allergies and digestive problems are at epidemic levels with causes unknown. The use of chemicals that present health risks may be adding to the problem, but are going untested, and without any monitoring of the impact they may be having.

Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 /027 348 6731
Jon Carapiet 0210507681

[1] EU Parliament Call to halt GM maize and cotton imports https://goo.gl/2QrYKJ
The EU resolution was non-binding but was adopted with 435 votes to 216 and 34 abstentions.

[2] A1094, GM cotton tolerant to 2,4-D and glufosinate-ammonium DAS 81910-7 http://www.foodstandards.govt.nz/code/applications/Pages/A1094-GM-Cotton.aspx

[3] Malatesta, M., Boraldi, F., Annovi, G., Baldelli, B., Battistelli, S., Biggiogera, M., & Quaglino, D. (2008). A long-term study on female mice fed on a genetically modified soybean: effects on liver ageing. Histochemistry And Cell Biology,130(5), 967-977.

[4] Séralini, G., Clair, E., Mesnage, R., Gress, S., Defarge, N., & Malatesta, M. et al. (2014). Republished study: long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.Environmental Sciences Europe,26(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12302-014-0014-5

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