EXTRACTS: ...biotech giant Monsanto used incomplete data to obtain approval of its genetically modified corn and... laboratory rats, fed with a genetically engineered (GE) maize produced by Monsanto, have shown kidney and liver toxicity, according to a new study... published today in the journal "Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology".
Greenpeace petition drive demands GE food labelling
Greenpeace calls for immediate action from BC Premier Campbell on mandatory GE labelling
Press release, MARCH 13 2007
VANCOUVER/BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (CCNMatthews - March 13, 2007) - Greenpeace today launched a petition calling on the BC government to legislate mandatory labelling before the next election. The petition drive comes as a study is released in Europe showing that biotech giant Monsanto used incomplete data to obtain approval of its genetically modified corn and that laboratory rats, fed with a genetically engineered (GE) maize produced by Monsanto, have shown kidney and liver toxicity, according to a new study.(1)
The study, published today in the journal "Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology", analysed results of safety tests submitted by Monsanto to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) when the company was seeking authorisation to market its GE Maize variety MON863 in Canada. The data shows that MON863 has significant health risks associated with it; nonetheless, the CFIA approved the maize for unconfined release into the environment and for consumption by both humans and animals in 2003. The incriminating evidence was obtained by Greenpeace following a court case(2), and passed on for evaluation by a team of experts headed by Professor Gilles Eric Seralini, a governmental expert in genetic engineering technology from the University of Caen.(3)
"Consumers are already skeptical when it comes to GMOs and this latest news about Monsanto will only confirm those concerns. GMOs are inherently risky, and we should not be releasing these untested products into the environment or into our food chain," said Josh Brandon, GE campaigner for Greenpeace. "If GE products continue to appear in our food, however, consumers need labels on these products so that they can make informed choices when it comes to what they buy."
The release of this latest data shows the urgent need for mandatory labelling of GE products in BC. The results also confirm the warnings raised by the Royal Society of Canada's expert panel on biotechnology.(4) In 2001, the panel of scientific experts found that the lack of independent verification of company produced data could lead to the approval of improperly tested and potentially unsafe products.
"As many as 70% of the processed foods on store shelves in BC could contain GE ingredients, and there is absolutely no way for consumers to know this important fact," said Eleanor Boyle of GE Free BC. "Consumers have a right to know what is in the food they eat, so that they can make the decision whether or not to consume this untested and risky technology. BC has the opportunity to lead the way on this issue in Canada and Premier Campbell should listen to British Columbians who want mandatory labelling of GMOs and take action before the next provincial election."
A recent Greenpeace poll, found that 79 per cent of BC residents support legislation requiring all GE food to be labelled, and indicated that the issue could be significant in the next provincial election.(5)
For more information contact:
Josh Brandon, Greenpeace Canada, GE campaigner, cell: 604-721-7493 Eleanor Boyle, GE Free BC, cell: 604-230-2561 Andrew Male, Greenpeace Canada, Communications, cell: 416-880-2757
1 The article is published online (www.springerlink.com/content/1432-0703) by the American journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology; it will be printed in May. A Greenpeace briefing on the study is available on request.
2 For details, please refer to the Greenpeace paper: "The MON863case-a chronicle of systematic deception
3 The analysis team was headed by Professor Seralini from University of Caen and included experts from the French independent scientific organisation CRIIGEN.
4 RSC, Royal Society of Canada (Expert Panel on the Future of Food Technology) 2001. Elements of Precaution: Recommendations for the Regulation of Food Biotechnology in Canada. Ottawa: Royal Society of Canada.
5 The Stratcom poll of 601 BC eligible voters was conducted between November 23 and November 30, 2006. It has a margin of error +/- 4.0%. A copy of the report is available on request.
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