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Scientists divided over Bio-Pharming ‘nightmare’


Scientists divided over Bio-Pharming ‘nightmare’ call for ban

There is a growing division within the scientific community over the government’s backing of biotechnology industry and its plans to promote “Pharming” of GE plants and animals in this country.

New Zealand scientists from the independent group PSRG (Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics) have today issued a press statement (below) which challenges the claims of industry-backed scientists brought to New Zealand to push Pharming.

The independent New Zealand doctors and scientists warn that release of GEOs will cost NZ, environmentally and economically. PSRG, also reiterate warnings from the British Medical Association and others who believe there is ample evidence to indicate that GE crops pose serious risks to health and environment.

Their warnings contradict the claims of industry-scientists like Dr. Channapatna Prakash and Dr Elspeth McRae (see article below) that New Zealand will benefit from introducing Pharming, and that the risks can be managed.

“Some of their ideas are already backfiring in other countries and the spread of GE pharm crops and animals is clearly a threat to Brand New Zealand,” says Jon Carapiet from GE-Free NZ in food and environment. “GE animals have accidentally ended up as food, and tonnes of crops destroyed because pharm crops had accidentally spread.

The risks from such projects as producing vaccines in fruit are an even greater nightmare,” says Mr Carapiet.

Dr McRae says that fruit is cheap to produce on a large scale. As it is often eaten raw or with minimal processing, fruit is an ideal way of delivering edible vaccines.

“People already eat fruit for its health benefits, and it is commonly used in the nutraceutical industry. With genetic engineering, we can enhance the vitamin C content of apples or increase folate levels,” she says.

“ This vision or the future is deeply flawed,” says Mr Carapiet. “ Companies must never be allowed to release such organisms outside of containment. The government should ban the commercial release into the environment of any Pharm crops and animals if they are honest about wanting to protect our future.”

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