19 Dec 2012

NZ, Australian groups fight GE food application

1:56 pm on 19 December 2012

Anti GE groups in New Zealand and Australia have joined forces for the first time to challenge the food standards authority over an application to allow a new genetically engineered food into both countries.

Chemical companies Dow, Monsanto and Bayer are seeking Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) approval for soybeans genetically engineered to survive a combination of herbicides 2,4-D, glufosinate ammonium and RoundUp.

GE Free New Zealand has made a submission with four Australian groups opposing the application. They are; Madge, GeneEthics, South Australia Genetic Food Information Network and Foodwatch

GE Free president Claire Bleakley says the groups are asking FSANZ to halt the application until long term feeding studies have been done to show whether or not the GE soy is safe to eat

FSANZ chief scientist Dr Paul Brent says it is satisfied with the information that Dow has provided which complies with its own and international requirements.

Dr Brent says any issue over herbicide use on genetically modified crops is one for a different agency to consider, which in New Zealand's case would be the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Ms Bleakley says her group has been told by MPI that it and Environmental Science and Research scientists here have peer reviewed the FSANZ assessment but have not looked at any independent data, nor raised the need for feeding studies.

She says GE Free and the four Australian groups will consider seeking a judicial review , either here or in Australia, if the soybean application goes through.