NZFSA A2 spin just tip of iceberg

The Soil & Health Association of NZ wants to see dramatic changes to New Zealand Food Safety Authority’s (NZFSA) focus, following the further evidence of its communications spin supporting large food industry interests.

NZFSA was found to have manipulated the release of Professor Boyd Swinburn’s report querying A1/A2 milk safety and spun it saying that ‘there was no evidence of a food safety issue.’

“Soil & Health is also concerned about the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), because of their business-based economic priorities when making risk analysis decisions,” said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“Their risk management systems feel rotten when decision after decision is stacked in the interest of short-term economic imperatives, and community and environmental health is placed behind business.”

“Evidence showing that NZFSA manipulated scientific opinion surrounding the possible health implications of New Zealand’s dominant milk supply comes as no surprise to Soil & Health.”

“It appears Treasury, followed by Ministerial directives to NZFSA, is thwarting a precautionary approach to food safety, and with a change of policy directive NZFSA could instead rapidly focus on the best health interests of the community.”

“Soil & Health has campaigned vigorously on issues of food safety and toxins, including pesticide residues and food additives, to NZFSA, FSANZ and ERMA, and has found that responses are the same as those generated by big business. The level of PR spin is inappropriate from agencies mandated to protect the community and environment.”

“The media spin around sugar replacement Aspartame (phenylalanine, 965, NutraSweet, Equal) is a prime example of NZFSA and FSANZ supporting the Coca Colas and Wrigley’s of the world, rather than addressing the genuine health concerns of New Zealanders. The media material used by NZFSA matches that of the manufacturers of this neurotoxic, carcinogenic food additive.”

“The Coca Cola Company and Ajinomoto, an aspartame manufacturer, are in turn using NZFSA’s industry-led spin as a recommendation in glossy public advertising. Coca Cola’s full page advertisement ‘It’s Time To Air Some Truth About Sweeteners’ in a paper’s liftout last weekend, uses both NZFSA and FSANZ positions to announce ‘Low-kilojoule sweeteners are safe.’

“This is self-perpetuating spin and it is time for NZFSA to break the cycle,” said Mr Browning.

“The current attempt by NZFSA to exempt genetically modified microbes from having maximum residue limits in food is another risky move that has no benefit for anyone except the Monsantos of the world. The mooted increase in some acceptable pesticide levels in food is also about big producer convenience and adds nothing to the health of New Zealanders.”

“ERMA’s reassessment of most chemicals also has an outcome that is very predictable. Unless banned or extremely restricted by our trading partners, reassessment decisions offer no real interruption to the status quo, meaning ongoing heavy use of toxins in our environment and food chain. Recent examples are Hydrogen Cyanimide (Hi-Cane) as used in the kiwifruit industry, where safe management alternatives submitted by Soil & Health were ignored, and the 1080 decision, which gave no real incentives for alternatives.”

“ERMA’s decisions supporting field trials of genetically engineered crops also favour its friends in crown research institutes and business, and lack genuine consideration of community concerns. ERMA’s touted independence of government and business is a sham when its decisions are examined.”

“Soil & Health calls for the urgent implementation of a precautionary approach that puts health and the environment well out in front of economic imperatives,” said Mr Browning.

Soil & Health has a motto of Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy People, and promotes a diet free from synthetic additives.

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