GE food safety tests not up to scratch

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Another GE corn has been recommended to be approved as safe for human consumption by Food Standards Australia New Zealand. But the food safety trials used were flawed,and new ones need to be developed, according to the Soil & Health Association. The high lysine corn (LY038) was compared not with regular corn, as should be the case, but with another variety of GE corn, on the basis that this was already approved.

The animal feed corn has been engineered to produce high concentrations of lysine,to promote animal growth. Monsanto has only carried out feeding tests on chickens and rats eating raw corn, but the corn would be cooked when included in processed food for human consumption. When cooked, this corn produces toxic compounds that have been associated with several human illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A decision to either support or reject the FSANZ review recommendation is expected to be released on Monday by the Australasian Ministerial Council, including Food Safety Minister Annette King. The New Zealand Minister had requested the review following an earlier FSANZ recommendation.

“We call on the New Zealand Government to reject the decision. We do not need to follow poor Australian analysis and interpretation of research codes of practice as has happened on this occasion,” said Soil and Health spokesperson, Steffan Browning.

“Soil & Health is conscious of the anger in the community against this incremental moving of international food safety goalposts promoted by the very companies that in turn apply for the introduction of novel and risky foods,” said Mr Browning.
“New Zealanders are rejecting trans-Tasman decisions relating to food safety and health care as shown by opposition to previous FSANZ and Ministerial Council acceptance of GE foods, and also the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill,” said Mr Browning.

“Decisions based on inadequate and biased food studies are not acceptable, and New Zealand needs to reclaim control over food safety testing and its food supply.”

“Soil & Health has a vision of an Organic 2020. Commitment by New Zealand’s leaders to a sustainable future and healthy community should target growth in organic production and reject risky GE foods such as LY038 high lysine corn.”