Press Release – GE Free NZ
Shoppers must start taking extra care when selecting the type of food they are eating, especially now that GE Corn with multi-pesticide resistance has been given approval by food safety regulators. The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Ministerial …
Shoppers must start taking extra care when selecting the type of food they are eating, especially now that GE Corn with multi-pesticide resistance has been given approval by food safety regulators.
The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Ministerial Forum has approved corn line MON87429, genetically modified to tolerate glufosinate, dicamba, 2,4-D and the aryloxyphenoxypropionate group of herbicides (known as FOPs); and a tissue-specific herbicide tolerance to glyphosate. Six transgenic (foreign) genes have been inserted into this genetically modified corn to make it resistant to twelve different herbicides.  This corn line will now be allowed into the food chain, unlabelled, untested, and untraceable. No mechanism is in place for detection of adverse health effects in consumers.
“Because no data was provided on the safety of the whole food, the GE Corn approval by FSANZ has deceived the public. FSANZ has failed in its responsibilities to the people of New Zealand, because the agency is unable to provide the requisite information regarding any potential allergy or health problems the GM corn might cause when eaten,” Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ said.
The joint submission and others made to FSANZ on application A1092  raising concerns over the lack of safety studies and significant changes to the nutritional profile and allergen profile were assiduously ignored and cavalierly dismissed. The complete absence of safety studies on the whole food raises grave concerns regarding the risks to public health. With no safety studies submitted or required, how can FSANZ know what those risks might be?
The agency’s safety assessment of MON87429 stated that no potential public health and safety concerns have been identified. With no supporting evidence whatsoever, the decision-makers at FSANZ considered food derived from MON87429 to be as safe for human consumption as food derived from conventional (non-GM) corn cultivars.
“It is extraordinary that a Government body should breach their duty of care by pretending they have seen safety studies but omitting to tell the public that there are no studies to show the food is safe to eat,” said Bleakley. “New Zealand does not grow GE foods. So, buying local and sourcing foods,especially organic, that have been grown in New Zealand will ensure that you avoid any concerns with GE organisms.”
The FSANZ Act review is further signalling that the guidelines for assessment of GE foods will be loosened, in line with supporting industry and making consumer protection less onerous for businesses.
The FSANZ agency evidently does not consider public health and safety important enough to motivate decision-makers to ensure the GE foods they allow into the food chain are safe for human consumption. It is important for everyone’s health that the new Minister of Food Safety, Hon Ayesha Verall, reconsider this GM product and require information on the safety of the whole food. The Minister must require that long term testing, including clinical trials, is conducted.
 Corn line MON87429 https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/applications/Pages/A1192.aspx