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Research released yesterday shows the Government's lax policy on genetic engineering is putting the health of New Zealanders at risk, the Green Party said today.
The peer-reviewed research, published in the Journal of Food and Toxicology, shows disturbing results about the health effects of eating a genetically engineered corn that has been approved for human consumption in New Zealand for the last 10 years.
The rats in this study, fed with Roundup ready corn with levels of Roundup that are within approved limits, developed mutations and tumours at a hugely alarming rate.
"There are now huge concerns over the safety of this corn. Eating this corn has now been proven to cause the growth of tumours, so why was it approved a decade ago without the necessary evidence that it was safe to eat?" Green Party genetic engineering spokesperson Steffan Browning asked today.
"New Zealand has more than 70 GE foods approved for sale in New Zealand to date, and these approvals were mostly based on health studies that were 90 days long or less. This new research recorded effects for two years and the tumours and deaths showed up after that previous 90 day cut off point.
"We now know that eating this corn, called NK603, causes tumours and we can't be sure that any products containing these GE foods currently out there being eaten by New Zealanders are safe either.
"FSANZ must immediately recall any products that have this strain of GE corn as an ingredient and reassess all previous approvals for long term eating safety.
"New Zealanders don't want to be part of a science experiment. They rely on the Government to make sure these products are safe before they are released for human consumption.
"Despite legal requirements, most GE foods are unlabelled so New Zealanders can't even choose to avoid them.
"I am hopeful that this study is on the top of the Minister for Food Safety's reading list this morning and that she will take immediate action to protect the health of New Zealanders.
"GE foods should not be in our food chain," said Mr Browning.