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PSRG Urges NZ To Look At Research Into Foods

25 June 2002

Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics urge the New Zealand government to look at setting up independent research into the safety and nutritional value of foods: genetically engineered and irradiated foods, and conventionally and organically grown foods. Sound nutrition is a basic factor in good health.

Our food authority, ANZFA, relies on data compiled by the very corporates who seek permission to sell their GE foodstuffs.

Too little careful research into the biologically significant effects of food irradiation has been carried out. A 1998 German study, by the prestigious Federal Research Centre for Nutrition, found that a chemical formed in irradiated foods caused "significant DNA damage" in the colons of rats fed irradiated foods.

A peer-reviewed study, undertaken over nearly a decade and involving over 94,000 organic and non-organic food samples from 20 different crops, found that organically grown foods contain fewer pesticides than conventionally grown foods.(1)

The effect on people of ingesting foods genetically engineered so as to be resistant to herbicides like Roundup or to produce the protein insecticide from the soil bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), has not been adequately studied. Although not approved for human consumption, StarLink corn, containing a Bt protein, was mixed with corn used in human food products.

The majority of novel proteins expressed in genetically engineered food plants have not been normal constituents of the human diet. The ultimate epidemiological effects of GE foods cannot be realistically assessed. Their effects are unknown.

(248 words)

Reference: (1) http://www.omri.org/FAC.html, 8 May 2002; J. Food Additives and Contaminants.

Enquiries to the Secretary, Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics roberta@clear.net.nz or 64 7 576 5721.


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