GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 13th October 2003

Government criticised for failing to monitor health risks as GE foods spread

GE Free NZ is calling on the government to halt lifting of the moratorium and sale of GE foods until testing regimes are in place to clinically evaluate any health effects that arise from working with GMO's, pollen allergies, digestive illnesses caused by the recombination of GEO's in the gut and other effects.

GE Free NZ would like for the Minister of Health to tell all New Zealanders what clinical testing regimes are in place for people who think they might suffer from adverse effects of GE ingestion. There is a specialised Unit in Dunedin specifically set up to deal with toxic adverse events but they have no standards for GE toxicity.

"The answer to the question of what monitoring is being done is : None," says Claire Bleakely from GE-Free NZ in food and environment. People are suffering from chronic digestive disturbances, and stringent diagnostic tests come back as negative for any known organism.

The only trace is to a "viral problem" and though evidence points to something people are eating, no tests for genetically engineered organism (GEO's) effects are available to rule out this possibility of causation. The release of GEO's into the food and environmental chains is unethical and cannot be allowed without a comprehensive testing regimes to trace hazards just as other products from pharmaceutical companies undergo.

Contact Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842

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