Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

ERMA delegates approval of new GM food experiments

Concern at ERMA “delegates" approval of new GM food experiments

Approvals to develop a genetically engineered range of food crops in New Zealand has raised alarm that ERMA has delegated decisions to local organizations that are even more poorly equipped to consider complex issues than ERMA itself.

Auckland-based biotech company Genesis has been given permission to develop genetically modified plants, many that are common foods- Maize, wheat, barley, rice, apple, tomato, carrot, pumpkin, cucumber, melon, all brassica species, and kiwifruit as well as tobacco, ryegrass, choko, fescue grass, gum, Zinnia, pine, and petunia .

ERMA did not even make the approval but delegated it to the Genesis IBSC.

“There is real concern about the lack of accountability and public input on such experiments in New Zealand,” says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment. "ERMA seems to be relinquishing control of its ‘low risk’ application process."

It is understood the gene constructs will include gene- sequences known to be genetically unstable and which independent scientists have explicitly warned against using.

As concerning is the use of antibiotic resistance markers in the GE organisms. This practice has been widely criticized by medical professionals as adding to the risks of antibiotic resistance in medical use- making diseases untreatable.

The experiments propose using genes resistant to ampicillin, kanamycin and neomycin.

There is a range of objectives for the experiments but Genetic engineering of food-stuffs with the aim of producing pharmaceuticals would be in direct contradiction to the recommendations of the Royal Commission on GM.

“The issue is one of basic accountability to the New Zealand public and a strategic vision for biotechnology that guides what is appropriate and not appropriate moving forward,” says Mr. Carapiet.

“Wider discussion and consultation should be required before approving experimental genetic engineering of foods when there is no market for them for human consumption, when there are serious scientific concerns that are being ignored, and when they could undermine our marketing image”

This week it was revealed pharmaceuticals from US maize was already being sold, after genetically modified: Pharm crops” had been commercially grown at secret locations without public knowledge and without being required to be approved by government agencies.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Voluntary Administration: Renaissance Brewing Up For Sale

Renaissance Brewing, the first local company to raise capital through equity crowdfunding, is up for sale after cash flow woes and product management issues led to the appointment of voluntary administrators. More>>

Elsewhere:

Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>

ALSO:

Media Mega Merger: Full Steam Ahead For Appeal

New Zealand's two largest news publishers have confirmed they are committed to pursuing their appeal against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>

Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>

ALSO:

Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>