Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


New Zealand Food Safety Minister Silenced In TransTasman GE Forum

New Zealand’s Ministerial engagement in the Trans Tasman GE Food Standards approval process has been silenced. The Conran review of the Council of Australian Governments COAG fora has recommended the dismantling of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Ministerial Forum proposing that the meetings are “time-limited, when needed and for specific tasks with specified, sun-setting time frames of no longer than 12 months…”[1]

The Conran recommendation comes at a time when Bayer are ready to unleash their gene edited (GE) herbicide-tolerant Xtendflex food plants. They will be regularly re-engineered to increase the amount of pesticides the plants can tolerate, leaving the foods unlabeled and laden with a cocktail of toxic herbicide residues. [2]

“New Zealand has yet again been treated as ‘trash’ by Australia,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ “The loss of the Ministerial Forum oversight on GE foods has serious health implications. The food chain will become a toxic quagmire of unlabelled GE foods, the risks going undetected because of lack of tracing and diagnostic tools. This will further burden the NZ health system.”

Editing (GE) is the process of slicing chromosome strands in half using an enzyme from bacteria attached to RNA. Dr Jonathan Latham describes the GE process as random and messy. The severing of the DNA causes “panic” in the chromosome triggering the emergency repair mechanism to patch the damage. This “panic” causes unreliable and random insertions or deletions of DNA at the points where the genome was cut, which can lead to the death of the cell or to off target effects and mutations that may be detected when the cells are grown.

Dr. Kawall’s research (2021) identified that the GE alterations have potential to accidentally alter the plants' ability to cope with climate change; interfere with the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, which could affect the defense mechanisms; and disrupt the internal and external ecosystem communication. These GE combined or cumulative destructive interactions pose an unknown risk to the environment, human health, and subsequent generations. [3]

Dr. R Ono (2019) found that in mice there were unintentional horizontal gene transfers, of bovine, goat, and e-coli DNA from the vectors, inserted at the double-strand break (DSB) sites introduced by the CRISPR-Cas9 system. These mutations and pollution of the cells' DNA have been overlooked or neglected by developers. [4]

“Such neglect of GE mutations and the risks taken by developers shows how important regulatory oversight is for all GE organisms. Our food chain is under threat from a deluge of unregulated GE foods that have no labels, no testing for safety, and no meaningful New Zealand Ministerial oversight,” said Bleakley.

The dismantling of the Ministerial Forum removes the only avenue where New Zealand has the ability to ask about the safety of the process, as the FSANZ Act does not allow a submitter to challenge a decision, only the applicant.

“The FSANZ approval process is being treated as a rubber-stamping exercise and consultation with consumers is being treated just an irritating formality. The Ministerial Forum oversight was able to challenge any decision and gave New Zealand a voice, that is now being silenced” said Bleakley.

“It is time for an urgent re-set on food safety regulation allowing New Zealand to divorce from the trans Tasman FSANZ body. We need to reclaim our sovereignty and create a stand alone New Zealand GE food standards regulator.”

[1] https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/final-report-review-coag-councils-ministerial-forums.pdf

[2] Hussain A, Ding X, Alariqi M, Manghwar H, Hui F, Li Y, Cheng J, Wu C, Cao J, Jin S. Herbicide Resistance: Another Hot Agronomic Trait for Plant Genome Editing. Plants. 2021; 10(4):621. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040621

[3] Kawall, K. (2021) Genome-edited Camelina sativawith a unique fatty acid content and its potential impact on ecosystems. Environ Sci Eur 33:38 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12302-021-00482-2

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6368560/

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Cancel Culture And The ‘hate Speech’ Laws

If there really is anyone out there who feels genuinely panicked about what ‘cancel culture' is doing to our precious freedoms, then maybe they should just take a deep breath, look hard at who has allegedly been ‘ cancelled’ and see if they can detect any trace of a lasting “cancellation“ effect. Chances are, the alleged cancellees will be doing just fine. By and large, they will be people who do not lack for a public platform – never have, never will – and the downstream effects of being “ cancelled” will almost invariably be trending towards zero... More>>


Government: To Rev Up Reductions In Transport Emissions

The Government is calling for feedback on a range of potential policies to eliminate emissions in the transport sector. Transport Minister Michael Wood today released Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi - Transport Emissions: Pathways to ... More>>

KiwiSaver: Default Provider Scheme Improvements Slash Fees, Boosts Savings

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders will be significantly better off in retirement following changes to the default KiwiSaver scheme, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said today. More>>


Government: Hundreds Of New Electric Cars For State Sector

Total of 422 new electric vehicles and charging infrastructure across the state sector $5.1 million for the Department of Conservation to buy 148 electric vehicles and install charging infrastructure $1.1 million to help Kāinga Ora buy 40 electric ... More>>

Child Poverty: Reports Highlight Need For Ongoing Action

The Government has released the first Annual Report for the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and the second Child Poverty Related Indicators (CPRI) Report, both of which highlight improvements in the lives of children as a result of actions of the Government, ... More>>


PM: Statement On The Speaker And Annual Review Debate

“The serious issue of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Parliament was poorly managed and inappropriately politicised last night. The tone of the debate did not reflect well on Parliament as a whole,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. ... More>>

Parliament: Mallard Fails To Give Taxpayers A Straight Answer

Trevor Mallard has confirmed he is unfit to be Parliament’s Speaker by failing to answer several important questions relating to the false rape accusation saga that cost taxpayers more than $330,000, Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says. ... More>>

Local Government: Independent Review To Explore Future

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says an independent review of local government will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future. More>>





InfoPages News Channels