GE toxins found in foetuses, research shows
Thu, 09 Jun 2011 4:23a.m.
By Jonny Talbot
Toxins from genetically engineered foods have been found in the blood of pregnant woman and foetuses, according to new research from Canada.
Research from the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Quebec found traces of Bt toxin Cry 1 - an insecticide genetically engineered into GE food crops such as maize and potatoes – in pregnant women’s blood.
These findings have prompted the Soil and Health Association of New Zealand, which opposes GE derivatives in food, to call for a rethink on GE derivative based foods.
Association spokesperson Steffan Browning said the Government could remedy the situation by “reassessing or withdrawing the approximately seventy GE food lines approved for use in the New Zealand food supply”.
Greenpeace Australia, GE spokesperson Laura Kelly agrees and says she is worried by the findings.
“When fed to rats, these Bt toxins damaged the test animal’s livers and kidneys. It is outrageous that we don’t know what impact this will have on their development,” she says.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) principal advisor on toxicology John Reeve says people should not be concerned by the findings.
“The research findings do not give rise to any concerns. The pesticides discussed have no effects on mammals, including humans, at levels far higher than likely to be found in food,” he says.
“The effects are only seen at extremely high doses as each of the pesticides is of very low toxicity to humans.”
Soil and Health are calling for improved labelling on foods which contain ingredients such as genetically-engineered maize.
“There are very few foods able to be correctly identified in food stores, although GE material is now in very many processed food items” says Mr Browning.
But Mr Reeve says MAF’s present labelling system - regulated by the Australian Food Standards Code - provides consumers with adequate information.
“The code already requires that foods with genetically modified material, with altered characteristics, have a statement ‘genetically modified’ in conjunction with the name of the modified material on the label,” he says.
Mr Reeve says MAF are aware of the research and there is no need to change the present regulations.
Jonny Talbot is a journalism student from AUT University
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9/06/2011 11:11:10 a.m.
this is only the start of evidence for long term effects of GE. stop it now in NZ!
9/06/2011 6:55:30 a.m.
Grant Philpott wrote:
Bt toxin was the active ingredient in the insecticde Foray 48b, used by the government on Auckland in 1996/7,and West Auckland and Hamilton in 2004-2004. The Ombudsman estimated 3-4000 people were harmed by this harmless insecticde between 2002 and 2004. U.S. patents show that the Bt in Foray 48b was genetically modified by adding another bacterial toxin called chloramphenicol to the nutrient broth that formed the basis of Foray 48b. The Food Safety Authority say chloramphenicol is not a lawful ingredient in insecticides. They have also banned chloramphenicol from food. After a question in parliament, MAF said they had contacted the manufacturer of Foray 48b and the manufacturer said it contained no genetically modified ingredients. Yet MAF cannot provide any written proof they ever contacted the manufacturer.Bt harmless....yeah right
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