Approval sought to contaminate food with biofuel corn (4/8/2006)

1.NZ - Biotech Firm Seeks Official Approval to Contaminate Food Crops
2.Australia - Private Gene Tech Conference - Public Funding

1.Biotech Firm Seeks Official Approval to Contaminate Food Crops
GE Free NZ press release

Concern is mounting that Food Standards Australia New Zealand are being pressured by international biotech companies to officially approve contamination of food with GE crops designed for industrial and pharmaceutical production.

Syngenta have applied to FSANZ to allow a bio-fuel GM corn into the human food chain because of expectations that it will contaminate food anyway.

"The biotech companies are admitting that they have inadequate systems to segregate GE crops not intended for consumption." says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ (in food and environment).

"But it seems instead of preventing contamination by containing their production, they want government approval to contaminate food so they are not held responsible."

The application to FSANZ (ref 1) says that there are fears corn derived from the genetically engineered corn Line 3272 will mix with corn intended for the food chain and could enter the Australian and New Zealand food supply as imported and processed foods.

There are also warnings from scientists and medical professionals that such applications may be just the start of many aimed at officially sanctioning food contamination by pharmaceutical-producing crops.

Professor Joe Cummins from the UK-based Institute of Science in Society (ref 2) says French authorities have already allowed the growing of transgenic maize with monoclonal antibodies known to cause severe and even fatal side-effects in people.

If such allowances are made there is a fundamental threat to public health. The very idea of allowing contamination of food by industrial and pharmaceutical crops presages a spiral down into a degraded food supply where few if any foods will remain clean of contaminants.

It is vital no allowances are made for this contamination, and that food authorities ensure segregation, including banning GM production outside a contained lab.


Jon Carapiet 0210 507 681

2.Private agribusiness conference, public funding http://www.leftwrites.net/2006/08/02/private-agribusiness-conference-public-funding/

GeneEthics Network - Media Advisory
August 3 2006

Victorian taxpayers are the top sponsors and funders of the private agricultural gene technology conference (ABIC2006) in Melbourne 6-9 August. Bracks Government funding of private GM projects is undermining the state's moratorium on genetically manipulated (GM) crops.

"Premier Bracks is pushing through his government's expensive pro-GM agenda without the consent of Victorian taxpayers," says Bob Phelps, Executive Director of GeneEthics Network.

"The interested public was denied any role in planning or running the ABIC2006 conference, designed to promote the views of GM companies," he says.

"Citizens with genuine concerns about GM are effectively excluded from the conference by the $500 a day attendance fee, while the promoters of gene technology will all be there - government officials, GM researchers, representatives of GM companies, and the PR companies," he says.

"Yet this conference will undermine Australia's reputation as a GM-free food supplier and risk our favoured access to overseas markets," he says.

Richard Koch of Profarmer newsletter reports that, "Where Australia has been benefiting is that our rapeseed (canola) is GM-free - free of genetically modified organisms - so we have been the preferred supplier into that EU market for the past 18 months or so," enabling a major price recovery for canola. www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=6801

"People world-wide want clean, green GM-free food, as shown by the annual rise of 20% in demand for organic foods," Mr Phelps says.

"There is no demand for GM foods here or overseas so most farmers don't want to grow them, despite enormous pressure from the GM industry," he says.

"A Swinburne University National Survey* of public opinion just published shows only 30% of Australians accept GM food crops and just 18% would accept GM animals," he says.

Media conference and GM-free Fiesta - Monday August 7 at 1 pm, Batman Park, opp. Melbourne Convention Centre, venue for ABIC2006. A celebration of GM-free and organic food, street theatre, speeches, displays and music. Show ABIC2006 that Victorians want a GM-free future.

More comment: Bob Phelps 1300 133 868, 0408 195 099 [email protected]
* Australians still wary about GM food - ABC, 30 June 2006



The Extract:
Issue / Problem

Syngenta has developed a thermostable alpha-amylase enzyme (AMY797E) expressed in Line 3272 corn grain for use in the dry-grind fuel ethanol production in the United States.

Microbially produced alpha-amylases are commonly used commercially in the starch-processing step during corn dry-grind and wet milling processing. The purpose of the development of Line 3272 corn is to use the corn grain as the source of amylase enzyme in the dry-grind ethanol production, replacing the addition of microbially produced enzyme.

http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles/IAR_A580_GM_corn.doc (corn syrup, corn starch, corn chips, canned corn and cornflour etc.).

Before food derived from corn Line 3272 can enter the food supply in Australia and New Zealand, it must first be assessed for safety and an amendment to the Code must be approved by the FSANZ Board, and the decision subsequently notified to the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council). An amendment to the Code may only be gazetted, once the Ministerial Council process has been finalised.

Syngenta has therefore applied to have Standard 1.5.2 amended to include food derived from Line 3272 corn grain.

2: This article can be found on the I-SIS website at http://www.i-sis.org.uk/transgenicMaize.php

ISIS Press Release 27/07/06

Transgenic Maize with Monoclonal Antibodies Grown in France

Prof. Joe Cummins, Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Peter Saunders from the Institute of Science in Society say this amounts to an illegal massive clinical trial of monoclonal antibodies known to cause severe side effects including death (Warnings on FDA Approved Monoclonal Antibody Drugs, SiS30 http://www.i-sis.org.uk/WOFAMAD.php). They call for banning transgenic crops producing pharmaceuticals and the withdrawal of EU funding for such projects.

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