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Developers beaten to market with 'GE Forbidden Fruit'

14/01/2019 Pipped at the Post - Developers beaten to market with 'GE Forbidden Fruit'

Scientists at Plant and Food have been beaten to market for sale of red-fleshed apples, despite mounting a campaign to promote their own GE product and suggesting it is ‘forbidden' as an excuse to weaken regulation of novel foods.

In a rush to get their GE apples to market, Plant and Food the scientists have sent their small plum sized GE apples to San Francisco for a “taste testing” to escape the long term safety requirements of New Zealand and EU regulations. [1]

They have spent millions of dollars on these GE apples yet there are already traditionally bred red-fleshed apples on the market. Lubera, a Swiss company, has many varieties of red-fleshed apples that are sweet, tangy crispy and scab resistant already commercialised and on the market. [2]

It is misleading to claim that new products are forbidden, because the food and environmental regulations do not forbid GMOs, but require safety testing of novel foods. The public expects responsible oversight of genetic engineering and there are good reasons to regulate new gene editing (GE) technologies.

“The relentless promotion of the idea that gene editing needs no regulation is self-serving and ignores historical lessons of science. It deflects from the terrible failures of the first 'GMO.1' foray into genetic manipulation. Gene editing technology is only 5 years old and brings risk of unintentional effects which requires oversight," said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ. "It is reasonable for people to expect novel products have been subject to feeding trials to see if they are safe to eat”

New Zealand is leading the way in sustainable non GE farming and the CRI scientists should not be continuing expensive and unproven GE technology, or promoting its deregulation for the reason that it is fast at creating new varieties.

The global demand for Non-GMO products is growing because of the desire for natural, organic safe food and sustainable agriculture. Industry cannot be left to police themselves, as it is a chorus of vested interests that is demanding gene-edited products have no regulation.

Dr Rommens, ex-Director of J.R. Simplot and the developer of the GE potatoes has spoken about industry short-cuts taken to get a GE food to market. The testing is focused on short-term benefits (in the laboratory) without considering the long-term deficits (in the field). He confesses that the test results on the GM potatoes were not as healthy as normal potatoes. He says “they were often misshapen, stunted, chlorotic, necrotic, and sterile, and many GM plants often died quickly. More importantly, I didn’t understand that the concealed bruises accumulate certain toxins that may compromise the nutritional quality of potato foods.” [3]

NZ Plant and Food, previously called Crop and Food, has been involved in many GMO field trails. All have failed or been closed down due to breaches and a cavalier attitude of some of their scientists, costing the taxpayer many thousands of dollars. [4] [5]

“After the many failures and breaches of their field trials it is wrong to be calling for abolishing regulation and safety protocols. Further it is hard to trust that the desire for cost recovery through patents will prioritise rigorous safety testing protocols,” said Mrs. Bleakley.

New Zealand regulations for food and environmental safety are vital to protect the country and New Zealand's reputation as a premium food producer from the dangers and human errors of GMOs.

References: http://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20190114.htm
[1] https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/01/08/389024/mount-alberts-forbidden-fruit
[2] Breeding of Red fleshed Apples https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkHZVPtoNuM
[3] Interview with Dr. Rommens https://sustainablepulse.com/2018/10/09/the-creator-of-gmo-potatoes-reveals-the-dangerous-truth-exclusive-interview/#.XDZtsS2B1Yk
[4] Brassica Breaches Plant and Food, now Crop and Food http://www.gefree.org.nz/ge-breaches/
[5] GM field trial activity http://purehawkesbay.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/GM-Field-trial-activity-in-NZ-since-19981.pdf\


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