“The recent announcement by the FDA that GM fish are safe to eat and will not adversely affect the environment is nothing more than a fish tale” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ.
Her comments follow the FDA’s claim that it could not find any valid scientific reasons to ban the production of GM Atlantic salmon, which could result in a commercial release soon.
“They can’t find the evidence because their testing is only conducted over 90 days, but a recent long term study shows the evidence questioning the safety of GMO’s is there. What is disappointing is that scientists not charged with protecting human health and the environment are raising the red flag” says Swanwick.
The release of a report in September this year by a Professor of micro-biology at Caen university, caused such a furore that the French government asked the National Agency for Health Safety (ANSES) to investigate the finding which could result in the suspension of GM maize NK603 in the European Union. (1)
Gilles-Eric Séralini, proved that rats fed over their lifetime (2 years) a diet of Monsanto’s Roundup-tolerant GM maize NK603, or exposed to Roundup over the same period, developed higher levels of cancers and died earlier than controls. The results, he explained, were due to the endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, and overexpression of the transgene in the GMO. (2)
Unfortuantely no long-term toxicological testing of GMOs on animals or testing on humans is required by any regulatory agency in the world. (3)
“That is not good enough when human health is at risk” says Swanwick.
The report ‘GMO Myths and Truths’ released in June of this year by three genetic engineers, details the evidence against genetic engineering.
“Genetic modification is not selective breeding as publicity on the subject is implying. It is a process whereby DNA is damaged when one gene is inserted into another, impacting the foodchain and causing human health and the environment to be impacted negatively ” says Swanwick.
“Suggesting native, endangered Atlantic salmon populations will not be threatened by the release of sterile GM salmon is preposterous especially when the New Zealand experience proves otherwise. Human error is always a possibility and in 2007 it was this that just about bought down New Zealand’s agricultural system” says Swanwick.
Crop and Food (now part of Plant and Food) received approval to trial GE brassicas that would produce an insecticide (Cry) gene. This trial, conducted at a secret location in Lincoln, breached regulatory controls after four months, when a flowering plant was discovered in 2008 from unchecked regrowth and publicised by Soil & Health. The breach was so serious that Plant and Food and MAF-Biosecurity NZ closed down the trial site. (4)
Only genetically modified plants have been commercially released overseas. Genetically modified atlantic salmon will be the first animal of its kind to achieve the same claim to fame.
“A lot of research money is spent achieving this end. Daisy the GE cow with her low allergy milk and no tail cost the NZ taxpayer $50 million dollars but New Zealanders have no appetite for GM products and certainly do not stomach their money being wasted by people with their own agenda” says Swanwick. (5)
Soil & Health is one of the oldest organic organisations in the world and promote fresh, healthy, organic food – GE, pesticide and additive free and advocate for consumers rights around food. Oranga Nuku, Oranga Kai Oranga Tangata.