Scientists' Warnings Ignored
GE Animal Feed OK for Humans: Scientists' Warnings Ignored
19 January 2008
Christmas has again been shown to be the season of deceit and of government agencies sneaking through decisions in the hope they will go unnoticed by the New Zealand public. On December 20th the NZ Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) announced its decision to approve high-lysine GE corn for sale as animal feed, but also as safe for humans should it become mixed into human food.
The decision signals an outright rejection of independent scientific warnings that this type of GE corn could create harmful by-products when heated.
"The NZFSA should have commissioned an independent laboratory to conduct experiments on cooked corn toxicity in light of concerns raised" said Jon Carapiet. "This was never done; they only asked the ESR* to assess industry findings on the corn".
It also shows that, when it comes to NZFSA's decision-making, vested interests and trade are winning out over consumer safety and the need to maintain the integrity of the food supply.
"People normally eat corn cooked so testing of this GE corn in this form is vital. Yet authorities have dismissed the need for such testing," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment. Equally concerning is that the approval is based on the premise that animal feed will cross -contaminate human food, and that authorities find that acceptable rather than motivating companies to maximise segregation.
Most major companies like Goodman Fielder and Fonterra producing food for people are listening to consumers and avoiding GE ingredients. The NZFSA's decision means manufacturers and consumers will need to be even more vigilant when sourcing ingredients from regions not producing GE crops and therefore less likely to suffer contamination.
It also means New Zealand farmers are set to further benefit from our GE-free production system in meeting the global demand for clean safe food. Independent surveys show New Zealand farmers have widely rejected GE crops, resisting propaganda and nonsense statements from organisations like Federated Farmers which claim no benefit is to be gained from being able to market produce as GE-free. ENDS Jon Carapiet 0210 507 681
* ESR -Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited.
High lysine corn gazetted
Thursday, 20 December 2007, 12:35 pm Press Release: New Zealand Food Safety Authority High lysine corn gazetted 20 December 2007 High lysine corn is being gazetted today at 1pm . This corn is used as an animal feed, but it has had its safety assessed as if for human consumption. Food containing this GM variety can now be imported and sold in New Zealand , although such products would have to adhere to GM labelling requirements, says NZFSA Director (Joint Food Standards), Carole Inkster.
"Although the corn was assessed as safe some time ago, and was approved by the Australia New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council in July, the previous Minister for Food Safety (Minister King) delayed its gazettal in New Zealand while she sought advice as to whether approvals for varieties not intended for human food use are within the scope of the Food Treaty New Zealand shares with Australia. NZFSA has worked through this issue and advice on this legal matter has now been received. It confirms that approvals for this type of variety are within the scope of the Food Treaty."
Carole Inkster says that the delays are not, contrary to some media reports, because of safety concerns. "The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) assessment process was thorough and included two rounds of public consultation. The final safety assessment was externally peer-reviewed and, to ensure the assessment took into account the New Zealand context, NZFSA commissioned ESR to analyse the science. We are satisfied that this corn is as safe as conventional corn should it ever enter the human food chain."
High lysine corn has been approved as safe by every country asked to assess it as far as NZFSA is aware. It is a high-value animal feed and its use as a human food is allowed in the United States , Japan , Canada , Australia and the Philippines . The FSANZ approval for use of high lysine corn as an animal feed does not allow it to be grown in New Zealand .
This would require assessment and approval by the New Zealand Risk Management Authority (ERMA) and further public consultation.