GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 29th April 2006

GE Food Alert as More Illnesses Linked to Bt Crops

New data on illnesses caused by GE crops ( see references below) are a warning that applications for GE foods must be rejected by Foods Standards Austraila New Zealand Authority (FSANZ).

GE Free NZ (in food and environment) is concerned that new GE food applications keep flooding in whilst the evidence of harm is being ignored. Right now applications are being made for GE lucerne and high lysine soy for introduction as animal and human health foods.

"The evidence of harm shows it is time the approval of GE foods is stopped and the FSANZ must seek proper independent research into the health effects of GE foods," says Claire Bleakley of GE Free (NZ) in food and Environment.

Recent studies have found that ingestion of GE corn cause immune system reaction, diarohea and vomiting. Pollen from GE corn has caused severe allergic reactions in people living close to the fields. Workers picking GE cotton have suffered rashes and blisters, leaving black discolouration on the skin. Research by the Australian CSIRO on GE peas also revealed unexpected effects: food supposed to be harmless caused a severe lung reaction in mice.

"We are concerned that FSANZ is turning a blind eyes to the new evidence and relies almost solely on the data provided by the applicant companies," says Claire Bleakley. "As yet GMO foods approved for New Zealand are not being tracked or monitored for illegal varients, and nor are they labelled. There are absolutely no health studies on human safety being conducted by our food

The complex risks being ignored by authorities were also revealed by the recent test of a bio-pharmaceutical drug which lead to life threatening reactions in volunteers and caused an organ shutdown. A previously-healthy New Zealander has lost his fingers and toes and remains in treatment months later.

"We need guarantees of safety. In the past FSANZ has not even been provided the full safety studies. Monsanto has refused to provide access to its materials and data to allow studies by independent scientists," says Ms. Bleakley.

"It is the same companies that brought us DDT, Agent Orange and Thalidomide forty years ago, and who are still in denial that persistent health effects on people are related to their products. If authorities continue to fail to properly test these novel foods, a disaster is virtually inevitable.

"Genetic constructs often used in GMO's are able to express changes in many types of cells, persisting and mutating through generations to have long-term impacts on the environment, animals and people. This unethical and misguided experiment must stop right now."

Claire Bleakley 0273486731 (06) 3089842

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