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GE corn rat-feeding data must be publicly released

3 September 2004

GE corn rat-feeding data must be publicly released

The Green Party today said FSANZ must demand, reanalyse and publicly release the raw data of Monsanto's controversial MON863 rat-feeding study and wants a full explanation as to why the company withheld the study when it was seeking approval for the GE corn.

"We're delighted that our call yesterday has flushed out the fact that Food Standards Australia New Zealand never saw this study when it approved MON863 last year," said Ms Fitzsimons, the Green Party's GE Spokesperson.

"It is essential FSANZ gets the original data that reportedly showed rats fed with this GE corn developed abnormalities and get it independently analysed. They must not simply accept Monsanto's own explanatory summary. Independent analysis can be carried out by scientists from whatever position in the GE debate, just as long as they are not employed by the GE food industry.

"We also call on FSANZ to make the full data open to public scrutiny. If people are going to have confidence in our food regulator they've got to know nothing is secret and that anyone can look at the science on which these decisions are made.

"We are disturbed at the laxity of the GE food approval process, not just by FSANZ but by regulatory authorities around the world. It is scandalous that companies are allowed to present selective evidence of safety testing - that the companies' own studies are all that is required. This is a classic case of 'regulator capture'.

The Greens' Safe Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said: "Monsanto's with-holding of unfavourable data from FSANZ raises serious questions about the integrity of the entire approval process. Monsanto must explain to Australians and New Zealanders why they deliberately kept this information to themselves and whether they have withheld any other such data from similar applications. Are we to assume this is a regular practice?"

"I believe there should be a full public investigation of the GE food assessment process and questions asked as to why companies are able to provide selective and one-sided information about their products," said Ms Kedgley.

Ms Fitzsimons: "We are also amazed that with much GE food testing the substance fed to the laboratory animals is not the actual food the companies are proposing to release for human consumption but some kind of substitute."

ENDS

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