21 Dec 2009

No worries about GE maize, says regulator

7:30 am on 21 December 2009

A food safety regulator says it will not launch an investigation into claims some genetically modified maize is unsafe.

The group, GE-Free New Zealand, says a study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences shows three genetically modified maize varieties are toxic and can cause liver and kidney damage.

GE-Free says that mon-8-1-0, mon-8-6-3 and N-K-6-0-3 maize have all been approved by the Food Safety Authority as components of certain products.

These types of maize are not grown in New Zealand, because of the ban on GE crops, but may be found in some types of corn-fed chicken and other imported products.

GE-Free spokesperson Jon Carapiet says that if a ban isn't imposed, the authority will basically be "ignoring clear-sighted evidence of risk and transferring it to the public and the consumer - and the consumer doesn't know, because it's not clearly labelled, and most people would seek to avoid it if it was."

Lydia Buchtmann of Food Standards Australia New Zealand says, however, that the maize has all been approved, is safe and does not warrant a review.

The study in question, she says, was done by an academic who is a known anti-GM campaigner and who published two other studies that were found to be seriously flawed.