GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 2nd  June 2005

New Discovery of Illegal Bt10 in Corn Shipments

Despite claims by Health Minister Annette King that illegal Bt10 corn is no longer being exported out of the US, in May a shipment of corn to Ireland has been intercepted and found to contain Bt 10 .

This is some six months after Bt10 was supposedly removed from the food chain and contradicts the basis for Ms King's reassurance in Parliament than no Bt10 is entering New Zealand and no testing of shipments needs to be done.

In Feburary Syngenta advised the world -including FSANZ -that the food chain had been contaminated by an illegal strain of GE corn Bt 10, hushed up over the years 2001-2004. The world was assured that all corn had been removed from the chain. However this has proven to be false.

Bt10 Corn is not approved for human or animal use and is known to contain the ampicillin resistance gene.

"Antibiotic resistance is becoming a major threat to treatment of disease in New Zealand" says Claire Bleakley from GE Free NZ in food and environment. "It is frightening to think that authorties are doing nothing to ensure the food we buy will not be further contributing to this problem."

There are also growing fears that Bt10 corn might have the same negative effects as GE MON 863 corn tested on rats. Some of the key points identified by Dr Pusztai are detailed below.

"It is imperative that FSANZ and NZFSA test for Bt 10 corn products in foods they know are likely to be genetically modified. This corn is still entering the food chain," says Claire. "It is unbelievable for the Minister of Health to ignore the situation and deny there is any importation when no tests are done. Overseas testing is confirming BT10 is still out there".

Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842Jon Carapiet 0210 507 681

Dr. Puzstai's comments on analysis of MON 863
** It is unacceptable for any experimental scientist to regard something as important as significant increases in white blood cell and lymphocyte counts and decreases in kidney weights in male rats, or a decrease in reticulocyte counts in females, as representing normal biological variability.......... The authors must be aware of the fact that increased lymphocyte counts are strong indicators of infection or even tumour development

** Overall, this study....... has no scientific value. However, the study strongly indicates that feeding rats on diets containing significant amounts of MON 863 GM corn can potentially be detrimental to the health of these animals and may cause major lesions in important organs (kidneys, liver, etc), interfere with the function of their immune system (lymphocyte,
WBC, granulocyte counts) and change their metabolism (glucose)

** The list of significant differences suggest that the authors' confidence (that the genetic modification of the maize sample has induced no significant changes in the nutritional value and the biological/immunological, etc. properties of this important food/feed crop) is almost certainly groundless. It is almost impossible to imagine that major lesions in important organs (kidneys, liver, etc) or changes in blood parameters (lymphocytes, granulocytes, glucose, etc) that occurred in GM maize-fed rats, is incidental and due to simple biological variability

** With reference to the kidney weight study: This type of relatively crude and insensitive study on organ weights should only be regarded as starting point in GM food risk assessment. We need more detailed structural, pathohistological, immunological, hormonal and functional dynamic studies into organ function


Tainted biotech maize impounded at Irish port
Wed May 25, 2005 12:59 PM ET

Dr Pusztai review of the MON 863 reports

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