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


Food code not grounded on best available science

Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety

Proposed change to food code not grounded on best available science

The Centre for Research in Biosafety (INBI) is urging the food standards agency to reconsider its draft recommendation to approve a new type of GM corn.

INBI has recommended that Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) should not approve Monsanto’s genetically modified high-lysine LY038 corn until further safety studies have been conducted.

FSANZ is the agency responsible for protecting the safety and integrity of food sold in Australia and New Zealand.

Monsanto has applied to FSANZ for LY038 to be permitted in the food supply, but has declared that its intention is to market LY038 as animal feed. INBI believes LY038 is the first genetically modified crop plant substantially different in its nutritional profile to be considered for approval as a human food. INBI recommends that safety studies be conducted using GM corn that has been cooked and processed as it is in human food.

“The key difference between the use of corn as an animal feed and a human food is cooking and processing, and FSANZ has made no attempt to assess food hazards resulting from cooking or processing of LY038,” said INBI Director and University of Canterbury Associate Professor Jack Heinemann.

He said LY038 corn was substantially different to conventional corn in that it has high concentrations of compounds that are known to produce food hazards when heated with the sugars found in corn.

“We’ve carefully examined the risk assessment done by FSANZ and its supporting materials, and we can’t understand why FSANZ does not ask for the obvious scientific studies that would establish the safety of this product when it is cooked and processed, the way people—and not chickens—eat it,” Heinemann said.

While the FSANZ assessment assumes that LY038 would enter the food supply only in small amounts and inadvertently, the INBI submission identifies a number of realistic pathways, both deliberate and inadvertent, through which the amounts of LY038 in the food supply could be much more significant.

In its submission to FSANZ, INBI makes over 90 major recommendations, most of which identify deficiencies in the supporting scientific studies and in the analysis conducted by FSANZ. INBI also notes ways in which the FSANZ standards deviate from those recommended by international food safety bodies such as Codex Alimentarius and the World Health Organisation.

“FSANZ is obligated to use the best scientific evidence available and conduct a caseby- case assessment. From our point of view, it hasn’t consistently done either,” said Heinemann. INBI has called on FSANZ to explain how it weighs competing costs and benefits when coming to its decisions.

“FSANZ is charged with maintaining public confidence in the quality and safety of food,” said Billie Moore, an INBI researcher. “This is impossible without public confidence in FSANZ and its decision-making processes, which must therefore be transparent and open to public scrutiny and evaluation. It cannot expect the public to have confidence in unsubstantiated assertions and unexplained reasoning.” For the INBI submission, please go to:

  • ENDS

    © Scoop Media

    Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


    Oceans: NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event

    As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. More>>

    Scoop Business: A Decade Of Government Pre-Seed Investment

    More publicly-funded science is being commercialised after a decade of government ‘pre-see’d investment, according to an independent review. More>>


    Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

    Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


    E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

    E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


    Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

    The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


    Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

    The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


    Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

    Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


    Get More From Scoop

    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news