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Poisons > Genetically Engineered Foods

GE Corn in NZ - GMO Corn Failure

Dangers of Genetically Engineered Foods

Genetically engineered foods containing genes derived from animals, fish, insects and bacteria are now being imported into New Zealand. The genetic changes that have been made to these foods are completely different to those resulting from traditional breeding methods. Yet, the import and sale of these foods is being permitted without proper assessment of the risks and without adequately informing the public, even though many scientists say that genetically modified foods could cause serious damage to health and the environment. Genetic technology has already caused human fatalities, new toxins and allergies, soil infertility, animal ill health, financial losses for farmers, and environmental damage in the US.

The process of genetic engineering introduces dangerous new allergens and fatal toxins into foods that were previously naturally safe. Already, one genetically engineered soybean was found to cause severe allergic reactions, and bacteria genetically engineered to produce large amounts of the food supplement tryptophan, have produced toxic contaminants that killed 37 people and permanently disabled 1,500 in USA.

It is estimated that about 57% of research by biotechnology companies is on the development of herbicide-resistant plants and that this will lead to increased use of herbicides, resulting in even higher concentrations of chemicals in food and in the water run-off from the land. Other dangers include the creation of herbicide-resistant weeds, the spread of diseases across species barriers. The artificially induced traits and inevitable.

Imperfections will be passed to all subsequent generations and to related and unrelated organisms. They can never be recalled or contained. The consequences are incalculable.

What foods are here already?

Genetically modified foods (GMFs) available, or about to appear, in New Zealand shops include tomatoes, yeast, corn, and soya (which is used in many processed foods, such as bread, pasta, confectionery, ice cream, pies, biscuits, margarine, meat products and vegetarian meat substitutes).

Genetically modified organisms are also used to produce cheeses and many other processed foods. But this is just the beginning. In a few years, if transnational biotech companies are allowed a free hand, it may be almost impossible to find natural food. GMFs area also reaching NZ supermarkets because they are being introduced in USA Canada and Japan far more freely and are entering the food chain through global trade. Over 4,000 field projects are in progress worldwide, so basically the market is about to be flooded with genetically modified products.

New ANZFA rules bypass New Zealand sovereignty

Genetically Modified foods and food additives will be sold in New Zealand without labelling and without warning the public because they have been approved by a small committee based in Canberra. New arrangements introduced under CER, effective from July 1st 1996, mean that decisions about New Zealand food standards are now made by the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA), a committee on which New Zealand has representation equivalent to that of ‘other Australian States’.

Public opinion in most countries is naturally wary of genetic food. For example, a survey by the UK Consumers Association found that 93% of consumers want clear labelling of all such foods. While the New Zealand public remains uninformed, there is widespread consumer opposition in Europe and North America. This year, modified soybeans and maize in the USA were the first genetically modified crops to reach the market in large quantities. The European Union has banned the genetically modified corn because of concerns in 13 member states over health hazards, and in the last month (October 1996) manufacturers such as Nestle and Unilever have responded to public pressure by announcing that they will not use US soybeans in their products. Public opposition has featured persistently on the front pages of newspapers in Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, and Germany.

(Since publication, GE corn has been approved in the EU and the Trans Pacific and Trans Atlantic Trade agreements will nullify any consumer protection legislation.)

Why Does Science and industry want GE?

There are many reasons, some see GE as a cheap way of producing food to feed the mass population, for others it creates employment in science and technology, but above all it profits the corporations developing GE and these corporations are economically more powerful than small countries like New Zealand and can easily bully our government into joining what may be called the genetic engineering  game where a grand experiment is being played out using the human population, (that's you, me, our families and our unborn children) as test subjects without environmental care.

What is Needed?

It is quite clear even from existing research that a ban on the import and sale of genetically engineered foods and a moratorium on the release of all genetically modified organisms is essential to protect health. In the meantime, labelling should be required for all foods which contain any genetically modified ingredient, even if it is only one, or where genetically modified organisms have been used in the production of the food. Full disclosure labelling will allow consumers to choose what they eat. It will also help scientists trace the source of health problems arising from these foods.

What you can do:

Force an election issue to ban all GE modified foods and GE trials.
Write to your MP, supermarkets, the press, and consumer groups, expressing your concern and enclose this article.
Make copies of this article for friends, family, colleagues, students, clubs and societies. Alert everyone to the dangers of genetically engineered foods.

American Produce Codes

What you can do:

Avoid them if you can. Force an election issue to ban all GE modified foods and GE trials. Write to your senator or government ministers, supermarkets, the press, and consumer groups, expressing your concern and enclose this article.

Make copies of this article for friends, family, colleagues, students, clubs and societies. Alert everyone to the dangers of genetically engineered foods.

ORGANIC NUTRITION

Almost half of the world's soy beans being genetically modified by the U.S.A. and it is almost a universal ingredient in prepared products. Thus approximately 60% of packaged foods in a supermarket contain soy derivatives. Most of your favourite breads contain soy flour, many products contain soy oil, soy sauce and anything with any fat in it usually contains an emulsifier (including ice cream and chocolate) which is usually lecithin which is usually derived from soy beans. Baby foods have soy derivatives in them.

Organic shops may not be able to get organic soybeans as Japan buys most of the worlds soy beans which have not been genetically modified.

GE in New Zealand

New Zealand foods imported from the USA or Brazil, foods containing modified corn or soybeans, such as margarines, chocolate and mayonnaises, contain the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) which can survive heating, digestion and potentially prevent human genes from functioning normally. Researchers say has this fact has not been properly scrutinised by regulator Food Standards Australia-New Zealand (FSANZ).

Selected US Companies Using GE Ingredients in Grain Products

• Aunt Jemima (pancake and waffle mixes)
• Beechnut (baby foods)
• Betty Crocker (pie and pancake mixes)
• Bisquick (mixes)
• Campbell’s (corn chowder, chicken rice, chicken noodle soup)
• Celeste (pizza)
• Delicious (cookies)
• Duncan Hines (mixes)
• Frookies (cookies)
• General Mills (Cheerios, Wheaties, breakfast cereals)
• Green Giant (harvest burger)
• Keebler (cookies)
• Kellogg’s (corn flakes, fruit and grain bars)
• Kraft (tacos, corn products)
• Morningstar (vegetarian burgers)
• Nabicso (fruit and grain bars, Oreo cookies)
• Nature Valley (granola bars)
• Old El Paso (taco shells)
• Pepperidge Farms (breads, baked goods, corn chowder)
• Pillsbury (bread and muffin mixes)
• Post (breakfast cereals)
• Quaker Oats (breakfast cereals)
• Sesame Street (cookies)
• Thomas’s (English muffins)
• Tombstone (pizza)
• Wonder (bread)

References:
INPUT, March 1999, p. 14.
Genetics and Society By Ikhide Pilnick.
Genetics: Analysis and Principles.
Denie Heistand (vibrationalhealing.com) reported that in US trials, animals will eat crops and grasses laden with toxic chemicals in preference to eating genetically modified crops.
Organic consumer
Stuff, NZ News
The Golden Rice Controversy

GE Corn in NZ - GMO Corn Failure

For more information contact:
Natural Food Commission
P.O. Box 17273,
Greenlane, Auckland.
Tel 9-5221043, or 9-4107804. Fax 9-5246003


 




 

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