GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 14th March 2005

Kiwis Mark World Consumers Rights Day : People Around the World Say No To GMO

Authorities in New Zealand are letting down consumers by denying basic rights including being able to avoid GE-derived ingredients in processed foods. World Consumer Rights Day is the right time for government to improve its record and to support Consumers in New Zealand.

New information on negative impact on health from some herbicides means that action is urgently needed to meet Consumers demand to know what foods contain or come from GMO's and the levels of herbicides and pesticides in them.
The maker of Agent Orange (Monsanto) is also the chief GE seed manufacturer (RoundUp Ready Crops). In the last year, journal articles have linked Round Up use to Non Hodgkins lymphoma and reproductive problems.
After 10 years scientists are still debating the safety of GMO's in the food chain. The more they know the more they have concerns.

Studies have shown that GMO's bacterial components have survived ingestion through the human small bowel and been found in the foetuses, blood and organs of animals.
There are still no diagnostic tests for consumers if they suspect illness arising from GE ingestion.
"We do not know how safe GMO's are and what health problems will face us in the future from eating GMO's" said Claire Bleakley President of GE Free (NZ) in food and environment.

"Many consumers would like to avoid these foods because of illness, allergy and digestive problems but the largest concern is the possibility of unknown delayed hazards from ingestion".
GE Free is commending Woolworth's for making a range of fresh breads without soy flour- soy being one of the most widely GE-contaminated food crops.

Because staff still cannot say if the soy the company use is GE-Free the new soy-free line allows the consumers access to fresh bread without those concerns. Recently Inghams, following Tegel's lead, agreed to source GE Free feed for their chickens. New Zealand consumers are still guaranteed that certified Organic foods are the safest way to source GE and chemical Free foods.

"Consumers demand clear labelling and a moratorium on the use of GMO's until independent comprehensive tests have been conducted," says Claire. "To mark International Consumers Day the New Zealand government should take action. Otherwise future generations could be paying for their mistake for yea r s to come".


Claire Bleakley (06)3089842

RI Vazquez Padron et al (1999) Intragastric and intraperitoneal administration of Cry1Ac protoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis induces systemic and mucosal antibody responses in mice. Life Sciences, 64, 1897-1912.

NH Fares and AK El-Sayed (1998) Fine structural changes in the ileum of mice fed on delta-endotoxin-treated potatoes and transgenic potatoes. Natural Toxins, 6, 219-233.

SWB Ewen an A Pusztai (1999) Effects of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine. The Lancet, 354, 1353-1354.

Eske Willerslev , Anders J. Hansen , Jonas Binladen , Tina B. Brand ,M.Thomas P. Gilbert , Beth Shapiro , Mike Bunce , Carsten Wiuf , David A.Gilichinsky , Alan Cooper (2002) Diverse Plant and Animal Genetic Records from Holocene and Pleistocene Sediments

Trudy Netherwood, Susanna M Martin-Oure, Anthony O'Donnel, Sally Gockling, Harry Gilbert and John Mathers (2003) Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA through the human intestinal tract. Nature Biotechnology. p284-289
World Consumer Rights Day 2005 focus on GMOs

On 15 March 2005, World Consumer Rights Day, consumer organisations all over the world will say NO to GMOs!

2.World Consumer Rights Day 2005 focus on GMOs
For immediate release
Date: 11 March 2005

It is four days to go until World Consumer Rights Day on 15 March when Consumers International (CI) member organisations will act to stop the spread of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). >From as far and wide as Lebanon to Switzerland, Thailand to the UK, they will demand that GM-free crops are protected, GM products are labelled, and international safety standards are followed.

Consumers have a right to information, a right to choice and a right to safety. On Tuesday 15 March consumer organisations will campaign for these rights to be respected. There must be guarantees that conventional and organic foods survive and remain widely available. GM-free areas need to be established and secured, and strict rules introduced to prevent contamination of GM-free crops. All foods containing or derived from GMOs must be independently tested and subject to international safety guidelines. They must also be clearly labelled.

Public opinion polls show that consumers are concerned about GM foods because of potential risks to human health. GM technology involves transferring genes between unrelated species which is completely different from existing conventional breeding techniques and has yet to be proven safe. Other major concerns are increased control of the food chain by corporations, and misleading claims about solving food supply problems and about the benefits of GMOs to farmers.

David Cuming, CI GM Campaign Manager says: 'The insertion of GMOs into foodstuffs threatens fundamental consumer rights. CI is concerned about GMOs because we have yet to see tangible benefits for consumers and farmers, while there are potential long-term risks. We campaigned on this issue in the past and it remains at the top of the consumer agenda.'

CI has released three fact sheets, for World Consumer Rights Day, covering key issues on GMOs: Why consumers should take action; Get your food labelled; and "Co-existence" or GM-free zones? CI members are campaigning on the streets, lobbying their governments and delegates, sending letters to international and national authorities and retailers, increasing public awareness and organising debates. Examples of World Consumer Right Day activities include:

* In the UK CI are sending postcards to the delegates of Codex (the committee responsible for international food standards).
* Consumers of Lebanon have organised a TV talk show to be hosted on anb channel.
* In Switzerland, Stiftung Für Konsumentenschutz will distribute information in the market place about GMOs, and campaign outside parliament as MPs hold a debate on GMOs in agriculture.
* In Thailand, Foundation for Consumers are holding a forum in Parliament and will demonstrate in front of FDA of the Public Health.
* In Spain, FACUA (Consumers in Action) have launched a website.

These are just a few examples of the activities of CI members on World Consumer Rights Day 2005.

For more information please contact Julia Crosfield or see:

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