GE Corn Approved for Human and Animal use in NZ
A Sad day for New Zealand
20 December 2007
Genetically Engineered Corn Is Here, what can you do about it?
The Government has failed New Zealanders by approving a potentially hazardous GM
food ingredient, setting a dangerous precedent that will let other untested
animals feed products enter the country's food chain, Green Party Co-Leader
Jeanette Fitzsimons says.
The decision to approve a strain of GE corn for human and animal consumption in
defiance of strong scientific evidence that it poses a health risk is an
unacceptable breach of food safety standards,” Ms Fitzsimons says.
When High-Lysine Corn LY038 is cooked the combination of high levels of lysine
with sugars already present in the corn will produce compounds called Advanced
Glycation Endproducts (AGEs) which are directly implicated in causing
Alzheimer's Disease, diabetes, and various forms of heart disease.
Earlier this year, Food Safety Minister Annette King signalled the desirability
of further research, voiced concerns about the validity of the testing process
carried out by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and concluded: I'm
not comfortable with saying : just tick it off.” Regardless, this product has
now been given Ministerial approval, without any further testing being done.
The Government has ignored the concerns raised by internationally renowned
authority Dr Jack Heinemann whose detailed submission first identified the
serious shortcomings in the testing procedures used. Presumably it was these
shortcomings that induced Ms King in her own press release (February 21, 2007)
to criticise the inconsistencies” in the testing standards ... in particular,
the choice of comparator. This process may, as a result, need revisiting in
order to ensure consumer confidence is maintained.”
Proper testing has not taken place. The tests to validate this approval
decision were done on rats and chickens and used raw corn - not the cooked corn
that poses health risks to humans. Moreover, the comparison was done against
another GM corn, and not against a more closely related non-GM variety that
World Health Organisation standards require, and which are called for even
within FSANZ's own testing standards.
High-Lysine Corn LY038, produced by the seed giant Monsanto, was designed as
animal feed. Monsanto acknowledges it would be impossible to prevent this GM
corn variant from entering the human food chain, where it will be unidentifiable
and unlabeled. Unfortunately, the slipshod process by which it has been approved
will become a precedent to allow further animal feeds into our food chain.
The timeline and Q&A’s released by the Government today are designed to hide
the fact that Minister King expressed concern and a desire for further testing
in August, after FSANZ had completed its assessment and approved the corn. There
has been no further scientific work done since then which could lead to today's
I did not expect much of FSANZ, which has rubber stamped every GM food product
put before it. It did appear though, as if the Government would act responsibly,
take the course of action freely open to it and opt out of the approval process
for this product for New Zealand. The fact that it has chosen to cave in so
abjectly to Monsanto on a key issue of food security is an insult to the
world-leading scientists who raised substantive issues in their submissions, and
is a tragedy for New Zealand consumers,” Ms Fitzsimons says.
You are what you eat
What to do
Corn and corn syrup are widely used in many foods, it is used in breads, baking,
ready meals, sauces, desserts and sweets, and as a filler in sausages and meat products.
However as much of our corn and products containing corn are imported, so to
remain uncontaminated, avoid purchasing any corn or product containing corn and
any meat from animals that have been fed corn.
- Lobby your member of parliament and work with others to try and overturn
- grow and mill your own corn
- purchase corn from certified organic growers and retail outlets
Genetic foods - GE Corn in NZ -
GMO Corn Failure