1.New GM food study reveals safety fears - Oz
2.Ban all seed imports from GE producers - NZ
EXTRACTS: "FSANZ [Food Standards Australia New Zealand] should stop relying on the data supplied from the GM companies and conduct their own independent feeding trials and stringent analysis of the GM products that are proposed for human consumption in Australia and New Zealand" - Western Australia's Agriculture Minister Kim Chance (item 1)
Colin MacKinnon, from Federated Farmers maize growers committee, says maize growers in particular would go bankrupt without certain strict GE-free contracts with countries such as Japan... (item 2)
1.New GM food study reveals safety fears
Government of Western Australia media statement, 21 March 07
Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance today said a recent French university study that had revealed the potential harm of GM food was further support for Western Australia's moratorium on the commercial production of GM crops.
Mr Chance pointed to an independent study conducted by French researchers and scientists from the universities of Caen and Rouen, which found that rats fed on Monsanto's MON863 genetically modified corn had significant reductions in growth and adverse effects on liver and kidney function after 90 days of consumption.
The Minister said the GM corn under scrutiny was not grown in Australia, however Australian people may have consumed the product through imported foods such as corn chips, tacos and products made with corn meal and corn syrup.
"Until we know more about GM crops, especially GM food crops, I believe it is a wise move to continue with the moratorium," he said.
"We want to take some time to understand the effect of GM crops and leave our options open. Advocates for adopting the technology now perhaps do not realise it, but by doing so we would close those options. This is because GM technology is effectively irreversible."
Mr Chance urged Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) to undertake thorough testing of the GM corn, and other GM products themselves, before they are approved.
"FSANZ should stop relying on the data supplied from the GM companies and conduct their own independent feeding trials and stringent analysis of the GM products that are proposed for human consumption in Australia and New Zealand," he said.
"The lack of independent data is the reason why the WA Government has funded its own independent long-term animal feeding trial to gain data on the safety or otherwise of GM food crops."
The Minister said the State Government was in the process of working through the full range of issues associated with GM technology with industry through the GMO Industry Reference Group.
The State Government's moratorium on GM crops runs for the term of Government and will, as with all government policies, be reviewed.
"The moratorium on GM crops supports the State's 'clean and green' status and will look after the lifestyle of our farming communities by protecting our overseas markets and environment," Mr Chance said.
"It will also ensure that WA consumers continue to have a choice about the food they wish to eat."
Media contact: Alicia Miriklis - 9213 6700 or 0428 911 240
Statements available on the Governments regional website: http://www.regional.mediastatements.wa.gov.au and you can also subscribe to have media releases emailed automatically from the Government's website:
2.Ban on seed imports from GE producers unworkable - growers
Radio New Zealand, 22 Mar 2007 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/latest/200703222014/ban_on_seed_imports_from_ge_producers_unworkable_-_growers
Grain growers say a ban on all imports of seed from GE producing countries would be unworkable.
The Soil and Health Association wants soy, alfafa, corn and maize seed imported from the United States and other GE producers stopped.
It says in the past month US courts and independent scientific peer reviews have found flaws in previously accepted data from the US Department of Agriculture and the multi-national biotech and seed company Monsanto. The flaws include environmental and human health risks.
Colin MacKinnon, from Federated Farmers maize growers committee, says maize growers in particular would go bankrupt without certain strict GE-free contracts with countries such as Japan but any ban on seed imports from GE producing countries would weaken New Zealand's competitive edge.
Soil and Health spokesman Steffan Browning says New Zealand can no longer rely on food safety appraisals from countries where GE crops are grown. He says an outright ban on seed imports is the only way of countering the risk of contamination.
Mr Browning says with regular incursions of GE-contaminated seed New Zealand is risking its GE-free marketing advantage. He says the development of more markets that are keen for GE-free products would more than compensate for the loss of overseas seed technology.
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