GE Free NZ is considering legal avenues to appeal the approval of GE rice by FSANZ and the Minister for Food Safety.
GE Free NZ met with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to raise concerns over the total absence of data relating to safety of the GE rice for consumers. Ministry staff replied that any concerns would need to be addressed to the Minister, as their assessment had been done.
The FSANZ�s GM rice decision  misleads the public, in saying the application is �Based on the available evidence, including detailed studies provided by the Applicant, � is considered to be as safe and wholesome as food derived from other commercial rice lines�approval of such foods is contingent on completion of a comprehensive pre-market safety assessment.�
The 'detailed studies based on the available evidence' cited by FSANZ were conducted by the applicants, GMO manufacturers Dow and Syngenta. The information was unpublished, and in the many thousand pages of detailed data not one study addressed the product's effect on health and welfare.
�There is a total absence of data on the food when eaten,� said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ. "A pre-market assessment has not been done and significant differences occurred in the GE rice proteins and nutrients, it is difficult to see how the GE rice can be deemed safe and wholesome, when no research has been done on its safety.�
In previous assessments FSANZ were provided short term feeding studies indicating that GE food could cause kidney and liver damage as well as depress the immune system   . FSANZ now does not require any feeding studies.
FSANZ regulators are also giving false assurances that the GE rice will be labelled. The requirement for labels has many exceptions.
�It is wrong for FSANZ to approve GE foods, when MPI does not carry out monitoring for GM contamination due to lack of funding.�
Widespread community concern and the public interest warrant an appeal. GE-Free NZ is seeking advice for action in regard to a regulatory body failing in its mission to protect the health of the public.
Jon Carapiet - National spokesman 0210507681
Claire Bleakley � President 027 348 6731