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New Study Shows GE foods May Harm Unborn Babies

10 January 2006

Ministry Urged to Act As New Study Shows GE foods May Harm Unborn Babies

The Ministry of Health must take action to alert pregnant women about the potential risks of GE foods to the wellbeing of their unborn children, in light of yet another study into GE food.

The UK Independent newspaper has published information about the latest study carried out by a leading scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences. The researchers found that more than half of the offspring of rats fed on modified soya died in the first three weeks of life, six times as many as those born to mothers with normal diets. Six times as many were also severely underweight.

"This research is yet to be published but considered together with earlier studies it is a clear wake-up call for the Ministry of Health to take action in informing mothers-to-be about GE foods now entering the food chain in New Zealand," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

Inadequate labelling rules currently exclude labelling for many GE-derivatives and where labelling is requied it is being hidden in fine-print on the back of the packs.

"It is time the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) and grocery manufacturers where challenged over their failure to prevent people being deceived into buying GE food. Just go to any supermarket and you will discover you need a magnifiyng glass to clearly see the GE ingredients being used in products like Stagg's Vegetarian Chilli Bean Mix, and other products that are being imported into New Zealand," says Mr Carapiet. "It's simply not good enough."

Given the growing evidence that even "officially approved" GE foods can have a physiological impact on animals and people that consume them, food manufacturers who continue to use GE ingredients may be opening themselves up to legal action in the future. The Australian Insurance Council has previously warned the grocery industry that they could face "asbestos-style" legal action as the long-term impact from GE foods becomes clearer.

Organisations like The British Medical Association (BMA) as well as New Zealand's Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics (PSRG) have previously warned about the risks of GE food particularly for the well being of the young, the elderly and people with suppressed immunity. The new study indicates the health of future generations is also at stake.

The latest study makes it even more important that makers of infant-formula and baby-food commit to ensuring their products are GE-free.

It is scandelous that New Zealand's Food Authorities continue to approve GE foods without a proper labelling regime so people can avoid them, without any independent testing, and without long-term studies into the impact on human and animal health.

ENDS

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