26 Mar 2013

New GM food not proven safe, says researcher

10:31 pm on 26 March 2013

A molecular biologist says genetically modified beans have been approved for human consumption, even though there is no proof they don't pose a health risk.

Jack Heinemann from the University of Canterbury co-authored a paper on double stranded RNA molecules, used to switch genes on and off in plants and animals.

Dr Heinemann says food safety regulators in New Zealand and Australia have approved GM soybeans containing dsRNA for human consumption under the assumption the molecules couldn't survive the cooking process.

But he says there is now proof dsRNA can survive both cooking and digestion but no research has been done to determine what risk they pose to people who eat them.

Dr Heinemann says it is unlikely products containing dsRNA are being sold yet and regulators need to reassess the risk they pose.