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Public Demand Authorities "Stop the Clock" on GE soybean

Public Demand Authorities "Stop the Clock" on GE soybean toxic cocktail (GE Free press release)

Public Demand Authorities "Stop the Clock" on GE soybean toxic cocktail (22/11/2012)

The public is being invited to make submissions on the safety of a new genetically engineered (GE) food. Despite a dossier of 30,000 pages of supporting information on the GE soybean, DAS 44406-6 there is an alarming absence of biologically meaningful safety studies on the food if eaten.

Application A1073 is for a new Dow Chemical Company GE soybean food containing three different foreign genes that allow for a cocktail of toxic proprietary herbicides to be sprayed on them. It is in the process of being rubber stamped by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), but has no safety studies either presented or assessed by the Authority, which is tasked with protecting public health.

In response to a call for public submissions by FSANZ, our members are demanding feeding trials as a prerequisite to FSANZ considering the application, and for FSANZ to "Stop the Clock".

"The clock must be stopped on this application until proper studies have been done. This food has never been tested, but other feeding studies on animals have shown the potential for serious organ and reproductive problems and a high incidence of death. If these results were extrapolated to humans our young adults would be developing liver and kidney cancers and reproductive problems in their early twenties,” said Claire Bleakley president of GE Free NZ.

GE-Free NZ is so alarmed at the failure of regulation that these issues have been raised in a private meeting with the New Zealand office of FSANZ.

GE-Free NZ is making a submission [2] outlining concerns at the lack of due process and also inviting the public to support the submission before the closing date of the 6th December.

As the Minister in charge of New Zealand public health Kate Wilkinson, who resigned over the Pike River disaster, we ask her to exercise her powers and postpone the approval of A1073 and require that long term feeding studies are conducted.

“The Minister must protect public health by calling for comprehensive scientific studies on the safety of this genetically engineered soybean,” said Claire Bleakley.

“We do not want another industry dictated “profit before safety” outcome. If the Minister approves this application without safety studies, she will escape being held accountable for her decision by the time the consequences may be seen.”

The Commonwealth Ombudsman has previously advised that the New Zealand public is reliant on the Minister and the Ministry of Primary Industries to keep FSANZ in line with its statutory duty to the public. The New Zealand public has no standing to question the legality of the trans Tasman authority's (FSANZ) decisions.

The Minister must stop the clock on this nightmare, or betray her own responsibility to ensure such novel foods — forced on a largely unwilling public — are tested and proven safe.

References:

Application A1073 - Food derived from Herbicide-tolerant Soybean DAS-44406-6 http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/foodstandards/applications/applicationa1073food5541.cfm

[2] GE Free NZ submission and form guide to A1073 http://www.gefree.org.nz/reports-and-submissions

ENDS

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