Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Lack of Responsible Oversight Leaves Everyone at Risk

GE Free New Zealand

In Food And Environment Inc.

PO Box 13402, Wellington, NZ

23/02/14

Lack of Responsible Oversight Leaves Everyone at Risk 

Parliament's Regulatory Review committee has tabled its report on the complaint by GE-free NZ regarding the approval of the GE soybean resistant to 2,4-D. [1] They have found that the complaint did not meet standing orders for the Regulatory Review committee and therefore have dismissed it, leaving no further avenues for scrutiny of the risk to public health.

The Regulatory Review committee decision reveals a systemic gap in oversight that puts all consumers at risk and leaves nobody responsible for allowing potentially serious harm.

Over the last two years GE-Free NZ raised grave concerns regarding soybeans engineered to tolerate the chemical 2,4-D which have been given approval by our Food Safety Minister despite a total absence of scientific studies to show if food made from the beans is safe to eat or not. 

Further reasons for concern are that the USDA has declined planting of the soybean due to lack of safety evidence and Australia has banned the use of 2,4-D in agriculture due to high dioxin levels. Agent Orange was made up of 45% 2,4-D, and has also had long lasting deleterious effects on the health of people.

"Food safety is the responsibility of officials at FSANZ in Australia, the Ministry of Primary Industries and the Minister of Food Safety in New Zealand, and consumers are reliant on their decisions. It is shocking that our governmental bodies who we trust to keep us safe are overlooking a serious issue of food safety," said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-Free NZ.

"The system is allowing approval of a new GE food that is intrinsically reliant on toxic pesticides, without conducting safety studies that are vital to assure consumers it is safe to eat. This is a dereliction of a duty of care to protect public health.”

Assumptions used by FSANZ to justify approval without safety testing are no longer supported by the most current scientific evidence.

Dr. Bohn et al in the journal Food Chemistry [2] has confirmed that GE foods are nutritionally depleted and contain high levels of toxic metabolites compared to their conventional and organic counterparts. Since the introduction of GE crops use of chemical herbicides has tripled, and there is added concern that the toxic components of the herbicide may be concentrated in the edible part of the plants. 

To legitimise the increase chemical spraying officials have approved an arbitrary increase of herbicide residues up to 200 times the levels that Authorities allowed in food ten years ago.

The increase in chemicals and novel DNA sequences in GE food carry new levels of risk. Dr. Spisak et al have just published a study [3] that has identified DNA molecules large enough to carry complete genes but avoid degradation in the gut to be fully absorbed into the blood stream, then distributed to various organs in the body. Other international studies on the epigenetic effects of the survival of DNA have shown that the maternal diet can affect the child’s lifetime health [4] . Canadian studies found that DNA of Bt insecticidal genes and metabolites of herbicides used on GE crops had crossed the placental barrier and were found in fetal blood [5].

FSANZ has approved 78 different varieties of GE foods largely relying on industry assurances of safety and assuming DNA cannot survive digestion to be absorbed into the blood stream, which is now shown to be wrong. FSANZ have also refused to study the synergistic effects of the GE foreign genes and pesticides that are present in the foods by saying the pesticides are not part of the GE assessment process.  

Public health is at serious risk as FSANZ continues to fail to ensure that scientific risk assessments are used in the approval of genetically engineered (GE) food.

"There are lessons to be learned from history. The FSANZ assessment process has a direct parallel to assessments of smoking, DDT, thalidomide and PCB where the minimum of testing was done. In those examples officials approved the products as safe, leaving the next generation to clean up the effects," said Claire Bleakley, “and it's happening again”.

References

[1] Complaint regarding the New Zealand (Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code) Food Standards 2002, Amendment No 53 http://www.parliament.nz/resource/0002181747

[2] Bøhn T., Cuhra M., Traavik T., Sanden M., Fagan J. and Primicerio R. (2014) Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: Glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans.Food Chemistry, Volume 153,Pages 207–215 

[3] Godfrey KM, Sheppard A, Gluckman PD, Lillycrop KA, Burdge GC, McLean C, Rodford J, Slater-Jefferies JL, Garratt E, Crozier SR, Emerald BS, Gale CR, Inskip HM, Cooper C, Hanson MA. Epigenetic gene promoter methylation at birth is associated with child's later adiposity.  Diabetes. 2011; Vol: 60(5):1528-34. doi: 10.2337/db10-0979. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21471513

[4] Aris A, Leblanc S. Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Reprod Toxicol. 2011; Vol:31 (4):528-33. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2011.02.004. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21338670

[5] Spisak S, Solymosi N, Ittzes P, Bodor A, Kondor D, et al. (2013) Complete Genes May Pass from Food to Human Blood. PLoS ONE 8(7): e69805. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069805

[6] http://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20140224.htm

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

2040 Target And Lower Standards: “Swimmable” Rivers Five Times More Likely To Make You Sick

Forest & Bird has condemned the government’s new water quality standards, warning New Zealanders that they lock in current levels of water pollution and allow for a 5-fold increase in the chance of getting sick from swimming in a river.

“Despite an explicit assurance from Minister Smith that the new water standards would provide for human and ecosystem health, he has failed to deliver on either of these things,” says Forest & Bird CEO Kevin Hague. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Immigration: Clampdown On Rogue Employers Good First Step

The Human Trafficking Research Coalition is pleased at the new clampdown on rouge employers who exploit migrants announced by Minister Woodhouse this morning, and believes this is a step in the right direction. More>>

ALSO:

Mayor: 750 New Social And Affordable Homes For Wellington (Over A Decade)

The next stage of Wellington’s Housing Upgrade Programme will see at least 750 new units of social and affordable housing built over the next decade, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

22/2: Christchurch Quake Memorial Unveiled

A city, a region, a nation and an international community impacted by the Canterbury Earthquakes will come together to mark the sixth anniversary of the deadly quake and dedicate Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial. More>>

ALSO:


November Quakes:

Gordon Campbell: On The Mana-Maori Party Deal

If the self-interest involved wasn’t so blatant, the electorate deal between the Maori Party and Hone Harawira would be kind of poignant. It’s a bit like seeing the remaining members of Guns’n’Roses or the Eagles back on the road touring the nostalgia circuit… playing all the old hits of Maori unity and kaupapa Maori politics. More>>

ALSO:

Private Provision: First Social Bond To Focus On Mental Health

New Zealand’s first social bond will help around 1700 people with mental illness into work, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Social Investment Minister Amy Adams say. More>>

ALSO:

Immigration: Short Reprieve For Nine Indian Students

A temporary hold on deportations of nine Indian students is a step in the right direction but the Government urgently needs to implement safeguards to stop further injustices to more international students, the Green Party says. More>>

EARLIER:


Megaupload Case: High Court Rules Dotcom, Co-Accused Eligible For Extradion

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and his three co-accused are eligible for extradition to the United States, New Zealand's High Court ruled... Justice Murray Gilbert upheld a decision by the District Court that there were grounds for Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato to be extradited. More>>

ALSO:

PREVIOUSLY:

Port Hills Fire: Midday Update, Monday 20 February

• 9 homes destroyed
• 2 homes with partial damage. Damage includes things like cracked windows, heat damage.
• 3 properties with damage to other external structures e.g sheds or outbuildings More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news