Food tests before field tests

Soil & Health is calling for more integration of environmental and food safety analysis on GE and pesticide applications, following last weeks Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) Bt Brassica hearing.

ERMA denies food safety responsibility, as Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) develops food standards covering the content and labelling of food, and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) administers the legislation covering food for sale.

“Soil & Health and others, through submissions and questions of clarification at last week’s hearing, pointed out the nonsense of ERMA considering field trials of GE food crops ahead of food safety tests of those same intended crops”, said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning, “The agencies and legislation need a shot of commonsense”.

“It is ludicrous to be field testing a vegetable that carries pesticide in every cell, without testing its safety as a food thoroughly first, particularly when there is vast opposition to GE in food and the environment in the first place. A 10 year field study of GE peas in Australia, had to be discontinued when it was found that they were harmful as food. Valuable New Zealand research money would be better spent on safe high value organic production”.

“Significant evidence of human and animal health suffering from plants genetically engineered in a similar way to those being experimented with at Crop & Food, was presented at the ERMA hearing”.

“Crop & Food, the applicant for the GE Brassica field trial, intends to test outdoors a range of cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, and forage kale, all modified with synthetic genes modified from the Bascillus thuriengensis bacteria (Bt), yet in India, workers are sick from handling GE Bt cotton, and livestock are dying from eating it, and rats in only 3 months of feeding studies of Monsanto’s Mon 363 maize, also modified with a Bt toxin, have shown signs of liver and kidney toxicity, as well as differences in weight gain between the sexes”.

“Long term feeding trials on Crop & Food’s GE Brassicas should happen ahead of any outdoor tests, saving the tax payer the expense of the CRI’s unwanted field tests”, said Mr Browning, “such tests and experiments do not belong as part of clean green New Zealand”.

Soil & Health has a target of an Organic 2020, which would not allow any GE crops or animals in the New Zealand environment.

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