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.
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.
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.
foods are here already?
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
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.
rules bypass New Zealand sovereignty
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
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
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
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.
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
copies of this article for friends, family,
colleagues, students, clubs and societies. Alert
everyone to the dangers of genetically engineered
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.
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
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