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

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sits at 10.30am today before MPs are summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber.

The speech delivered by the Governor-General on the Government’s behalf outlines its priorities for this Parliament.

After this MPs will return to the House for the presentation of petitions and papers and the introduction of any bills.

The Government has five notices of motion on the Order Paper which can be debated. These relate to relating to the appointment of the Deputy Speaker, Assistant Speakers, the reinstatement of business in a carryover motion and one on “Entities to be deemed public organisations”. More>>

 

Tertiary Education: Students Doing It Tough As Fees Rise Again

The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. More>>

ALSO:

Housing, Iraq: PM Press Conference – 20 October 2014

Prime Minister John Key met with press today to discuss:
• Housing prices and redevelopment in Auckland
• Discussions with Tony Abbott on the governmental response to ISIS, and New Zealand’s election to the UN Security Council More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Review Team Named, Leadership Campaign Starts

Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban.

ALSO:


Roy Morgan Poll: National Slips, Labour Hits Lows

The first New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll since the NZ Election shows National 43.5% (down 3.54% since the September 20 Election). This isn’t unusual, National support has dropped after each of John Key’s Election victories... However, support for the main opposition Labour Party has crashed to 22.5% (down 2.63% and the lowest support for Labour since the 1914 NZ Election as United Labour). More>>

ALSO:

In On First Round: New Zealand Wins Security Council Seat

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed New Zealand securing a place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-16 term. More>>

ALSO:

TPP Leak: Intellectual Property Text Confirms Risk - Jane Kelsey

The US is continuing its assault on generic medicines through numerous proposed changes to patent laws. ‘These are bound to impact on Pharmac if they are accepted’, according to Professor Kelsey... Copyright is another area of ongoing sensitivity... More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith Plans Reform To Ease Urban Development

Newly appointed Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced Resource Management Act reform to foster urban development, where high land prices and expensive resource consents are blocking efforts to provide affordable housing. More>>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On New Zealand getting involved (again) in other people's wars

Apparently, the Key government is still pondering how New Zealand will contribute to the fight against Islamic State. Long may it ponder, given the lack of consensus among our allies as to how to fight IS, where to fight it (Syria, Iraq, or both?) and with whose ground troops, pray tell? More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On child poverty, and David Shearer’s latest outburst

The politicisation of (a) the public service and (b) the operations of the Official Information Act have been highlighted by the policy advice package on child poverty that RNZ’s resolute political editor Brent Edwards has finally prised out of the Ministry of Social Development. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On the government’s review of security laws

So the Key government is about to launch a four week review of the ability of our existing legislation to deal with “suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters, and other violent extremists.”

According to its terms of reference, the review will consider whether the SIS, GCSB and Police are sufficiently able right now to (a) investigate and monitor suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters… More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news