GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 27th November 2005

Food Authorities Challenged for Failure to Test GE Food

New research showing harm caused by GE food is prompting a challenge to the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) from consumer groups demanding the Authority makes study of genetically engineered food a priority. 
At a recent consumer forum a presentation on the contamination of the food supply by untested GE Bt10 included revelations that the NZFSA do not see GE as a priority issue and no action would be taken to look closer at the hazards around GE foods.
"In light of new evidence of harm from GE foods this appears to be a very dangerous attitude and consumers should be very concerned about the Food Safety Authority's views" says Claire Bleakley of GE Free NZ in food and environment.
"For three years the consumer forum has made representation over the mounting evidence of harm from GE trials on animals and humans now identified by independent scientists and biotech companies themselves.  Yet the food authorities in both New Zealand and Australia are ignoring the data".
A recent study conducted by CSIRO in Australia shows that the introduction of genetic material from a bean variety into a GM pea led to the creation of a novel protein which caused inflammation of the lung tissue of mice.  So serious was the damage that the research was halted, and stocks of the GM pea have been destroyed. The developers have now made a commitment that the "rogue" variety will never be marketed.

A 2005 laboratory study by Dr M.Myhre and colleagues on the 35S CaMV promoter gene indicated that there was a risk in relation to food and feed derived from transgenic plants, provided that plant DNA fragments are taken up in the alimentary tracts. The implications from this study are that the 35S CaMV promoter could switch on genes which would not normally be activated, potentially including dormant viruses and possibly oncogenes.
"As indicated by these in-vitro studies, there are clear signs that GE DNA fragments may survive and be able to drive processes in the digestive system," says Claire Bleakley. "Further investigation is urgently needed. So why aren't the NZFSA and FSANZ protecting consumers by ensuring rigourous testing, labelling and tracking regimes?"
Early results by Russian scientist Irina Ermakova have shown that an astounding 55% of the offspring of rats fed on GM soya died within three weeks of birth, compared with only 9% in the control group.   
Dr Manuela Malatesta and colleagues in the Universities of Pavia and Urbino in Italy found that mice fed GM soya experienced a slowdown in cellular metabolism and modifications to the liver and pancreas.
The disasterous effects of GE L-Tryptophan between 1986-1989 killing scores of people and permanently maiming an estimated 10,000, was the earliest warning that genetically engineered products posed serious safety issues. Still the NZFSA and FSANZ seem willing to ignore the possibility that these foods are a public health time-bomb.
It has been twelve years now and there are still no diagnositc tools available for medical practitioners, and no way of tracing the possibility of illness or allergic reactions from GE foods.  Yet there has been a steady rise in illnesses caused by unknown viruses and undiagnosed stomach and skin problems.Is there a correlation?
It is highly irresponsible and unethical for Authorities to turn a blind eyes to the data and fail to investigate the impact of GE foods on people unwittingly consuming them. Given inadequate regimes to test and control GE foods The Australian Insurance Council has warned that in coming years grocery manufacturers may be held responsible for harm resulting from manufacturers using 'approved' GE foods when evidence is clear that the regulatory system is failing.
Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842
Jon Carapiet 0210 507 681
1.    Myhre M., Fenton K., Eggert J, Nielsen K,. Traavik T. (2005) The 35S CaMV plant virus promoter is active in human enterocyte-like cells. Eur Food Res Technol.
2. NEW EVIDENCE OF HARM FROM GM FOOD TRIGGERS CALL FOR IMMEDIATE BAN, UK Government and EC accused of criminal negligence and willful suppression of facts, Press Notice 25th November 2005, Immediate Release, GM Free Cymru.
3.  See Jeffrey Smith: fully referenced article in "Spilling the Beans," Oct 2005:
The study was a preliminary study and has not yet been peer-reviewed and published by the author.  But her results were so worrying to independent scientists that dissemination became imperative.

4.  Manuela Malatesta and her colleagues have published five papers 2002-2004.
Mangiare OGM non fa differenza? Non proprio.......
Abstracts of the papers can be found here:

5. Study conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
New Scientist article:

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

7.  The Flavr-Savr tomato was withdrawn in 1996, amid claims that it was a commercial failure.  So was another variety called Endless Summer. But trials of the Flavr-Savr tomato showed there were health concerns which contributed to the "commercial" decision.

8.  The StarLink maize fiasco occurred in 2000and is well documented.  See also:

9.  A new GM soya was developed, containing genes from Brazil nuts (1996).  A novel protein was accidentally created which had the potential to affect people with nut allergies -- so the GM soya was withdrawn:,32410.asp

10 As a consequence of the L-tryptophan scandal (1989) there were c 100 deaths  (Jeffrey Smith).  See these:

11.  Fares NH, El-Sayed AK. 1998.  Fine structural changes in the ileum of mice fed on delta-endotoxin-treated potatoes and transgenic potatoes. Nat Toxins. 6:219-33.

12.  The rBGH bovine growth hormone (BST) has been promoted globally by Monsanto in the full knowledge of science showing damage to both cattle and those who consume the milk of cows treated with rBGH.

13.  The deaths of cattle in Hesse, Germany, have been linked with Bt176 maize, but there appear to have been determined efforts to "lose" key scientific information and to attribute the cattle deaths to mismanagement and other factors.

14.  Broiler chickens fed on Chardon LL -- the mortality rate was twice as high as that of the control group (NB the infamous case of Prof Alan Gray of ACRE and the failure of that Committee to examine evidence placed before it........)

15.  Rats fed on Chardon LL -- weight gain was much reduced

16.  The work of the Norwegian scientist Terje Traavik and his colleagues is on-going and has still to be published.  But see: "Filipino islanders blame GM crop for mystery sickness. Monsanto denies scientist's claim that maize may have caused 100 villagers to fall ill" -- John Aglionby in Kalyong, southern Philippines, The Guardian, Wednesday 3 March 3, 2004,2763,1160789,00.html
Allergic reactions and cattle deaths 2005 attributable to Bt cotton In India (Madhya Pradesh):

17.  The Newcastle feeding study (published 2003)  involved a small portion of GM soya fed to just seven ileostomy patients:
Comments by Dr Michael Antoniou

18.  Re the Monsanto rat feeding study on MON863 maize, which the company was desperate to keep out of the public domain (2004):
Genetically  Modified Corn Study Reveals Health Damage and Cover-up, by Jeffrey M.  Smith

19.  According to a letter received 24.11.05 from Arpad Pusztai, "A consistent feature of all the studies done, published or unpublished, including MON863, indicates major problems with changes in the immune status of animals fed on various GM crops/foods, the latest example of this coming from the GM pea research in Australia."

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