PO Box 13402
Wellington, New Zealand

GE-Free New Zealand

in food and environment (RAGE Inc.)


Drug Trial Disaster: Lessons Ignored By Authorities


Lessons that should have been learned from the tragic consequences of the botched UK drug trial are being ignored by regulatory authorities, who are putting public health at risk.

The trial of TGN 1412 has left at least one survivor diagnosed with cancer after administration of the GE-derived drug resulted in unexpected side-effects. However, authorities are failing to acknowledge that the trial may have serious implications for a range of other GE-derived medicines and that there is currently an inadequate understanding of the complexity of reactions to such drugs.

The drug TGN 1412 was a product of genetic engineering and cloning. The biotech company Te Genero has since gone into liquidation and is denying responsibility for the tragic consequences. The company who conducted the trial is now being sued.

GE Free NZ spokesperson Claire Bleakley has said that "issues raised about human health and liability for harm caused by GE products should serve as a dire warning to food regulator FSANZ which is now considering a barrage of applications to allow for GE contaminants in the human food chain."

Companies including Monsanto and Syngenta have genetically modified staple food crops like corn to produce bio- diesel, pharmaceuticals and animal feed. However, they are admitting that they cannot guarantee these will not pollute the human food chain and have asked for authorities to approve such contamination as 'safe' despite the serious concerns of scientists and complete absence of independent saftey testing.

"Where are the safety tests and proven diagnostic tools? There are none!" says Claire Bleakley from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"There is a feeling that consumer trust is being seriously abused, and the most recent scientific lessons are being deliberately ignored. There is no method in place to test these products, keep track of them or test what effects a combination of contaminants may have on public health," said Claire Bleakley.

"Though food companies might be liable if an adverse GE event occurs, the public health system could also be left carrying the costs if food authorities approve what is clearly a disaster in the making. The potential for serious diseases or reactions to GE foods is expanding with each GE approval."

GE Free NZ in food and environment have called on FSANZ to take the warnings from independent scientists against approving applications for new GE contaminants seriously. They also advocate that FSANZ should learn from the GE drug trial, and place a moratorium on all GE food-stuff applications pending published, peer-reviewed independent testing including ethically-conducted long term human trials.

Claire Bleakley Mb:027 348 6731/ a/h (06) 3089842

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