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New Study Questions GE Food Safety

New Study Questions GE Food Safety

Thursday, July 18, 2002

A new study on genetically engineered food rings alarm bells for human health, said Greenpeace today. The study questions approval systems for GE food, and validates concerns that GE food is untested and unsafe.

‘This study shows the potential for antibiotic resistance to increase as a result of eating GE food. The GE industry have denied this for years while they rush GE food into commercialisation,� said Annette Cotter, Genetic Engineering Campaigner for Greenpeace.

‘Astoundingly, this is the first known trial of GE foods on human volunteers, yet GE food has been approved by our Food Safety Authority for some years. The new study questions the validity of the ‘approve first, test later’ approach to allowing GE in our food.

A study by Newcastle University for the UK Food Standards Agency revealed genetically engineered (GE) genes are showing up in human stomach bacteria. The researchers fed seven volunteers, who have had their lower intestines removed, a hamburger with GE soya and a milkshake. The stools tested from the volunteers’ colostomy bags showed that a ‘relatively large portion of the genetically engineered DNA survived the passage through the small bowel.

11 Source: John Vidal, Wednesday July 17, 2002, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/gmdebate/Story/0,2763,756666,00.html

The study went further to see if this genetically engineered DNA could be transferred via bacteria in the large intestine. In laboratory simulated gastrointestinal tracts, three of the seven samples revealed human gut bacteria had taken on the herbicide-resistant gene.

‘Corngate has raised serious questions about the GE status of corn on New Zealanders’ plates over the past two years. Given these questions and the fact that New Zealand’s Food Safety Authority has given the green light to many GE foods, we should be very concerned about the impacts of GE food on human health,� Cotter concluded.

Annette Cotter, Genetic Engineering Campaigner 021 565 175

Vanessa Atkinson 025 927 301

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