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Monsanto wants OK for children's GE snacks

Nov 2, 1999

Monsanto wants OK for children's GE snacks

The US based food and chemical giant Monsanto has lodged applications to sell eight different genetically engineered potato, corn and canola products in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.

But these GE foods may already be on the supermarket shelves here in the form of children's snacks and soft drinks, the party said.

The Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) is seeking public comment on 13 applications, including Monsantos' eight, for genetically engineered foods including two varieties of insect and virus resistant potatoes, glyphosate tolerant sugar beet, plus several varieties of GE corn, cotton and canola.

"ANZFA has confirmed that these GE potato, canola and corn products may already be found in chippy packets, soft drinks and other snack foods that New Zealand children consume in large quantities," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said. "Yet these foods have never been tested for their long term effect on our health, or to see whether they could cause cancer, immune system damage etc. This means that our children are part of a massive experiment, the results of which will only be known after millions of children world-wide have been exposed to these foods."

Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said it was outrageous that the Government was allowing more and more GE food into the food chain, while at the same time as it was shelving any labelling regime until at least 2001.

"There should be a moratorium on all GE foods until such time as a mandatory labelling regime is in place," she said. "Otherwise consumers are being forced to eat food that has not been properly tested for its safety."

Canadian scientist Dr David Suzuki pointed out recently that "any politician or scientist who says these products are safe are either very stupid or lying, because the experiments have simply not been done".

"The hazards of these foods are uncertain," Dr Suzuki said. "In view of the enormous ignorance, the premature application of biotechnology is downright dangerous."

Jeanette Fitzsimons 07 8686641, 025 586068. Sue Kedgley 04 3849123 Paul Bensemann, Press Secretary 021 214 2665


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