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Greens Confuse Science & Politics

24 Sep 04

Greens Confuse Science & Politics

The Green Party has confused science and politics, in claiming that Europe has rejected the genetically modified (GM) corn New Zealand accepted, the Chairman of the Life Sciences Network Dr William Rolleston said today.

“In fact, the European Union has only postponed a vote at the political stage of the approval process. This is despite the European Food Safety Authority’s Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms giving MON 863 a clean bill of health.

“The European Commission has said the decision was postponed because there were not enough votes for or against to make a decision either way. The matter will be voted on again, once member states have more information. These sorts of delays are typical of the approval process in Europe.

“We are fortunate in New Zealand that decisions on safety are based on science, not politics. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has completed a comprehensive safety assessment, and concluded that foods derived from MON 863 are as safe and wholesome as foods derived from other corn varieties. If there is credible new information, then of course the authority should consider it.

“Contrary to the Green’s claims, the rat feeding study which featured in the French media last April, does not indicate MON 863 to be unsafe for human consumption. The report of the *European Food Safety Authority’s Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms says:

“The results of 90-day sub-chronic rodent studies do not indicate adverse effects from consumption of MON 863 and MON 810 and the Panel concludes that there are no concerns over their safety. The Panel considers that the nutritional properties of these maize lines would be no different from those of conventional maize.”

“The rat feeding study Ms Fitzsimons refers to has also been completely disregarded by scientific experts.

“The real difference is that New Zealand is in the midst of local body elections, where the Greens are desperately trying to put GM back on the political agenda. Dressing politics up as scientific fact has happened too often in the GM debate for the media or the public to take it seriously,” concluded Dr Rolleston.

ENDS


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