|ecoglobe: Food safety of genetically engineered foods|
Are foods that contain genetically engineered plant or animal matter
safe to eat?
|"GE is already pervasive in NZ food"||
"60% or 75% of our diet contains already genetically engineered food
components" (NZ media, 1999)|
The source of this claim is unclear. It is possible that this high figure stems from questionable sources. It could be a rumour only. Repeating this high figure will produce defeatism with opponents of GE: "a majority of our food is already GMO, so we've already lost". GE opponents should challenge the figures wherever they surface.
|Chemicals' residues in crops and foods||
The Australia NZ Food Authority is presently [April 1999] considering a
200-fold increase in the permitted Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs)
(.1 mg/kg to 20mg/kg) of pesticides' residues in food crops
[source to be indicated and verified]. It is believed that this
increase in MRL has been advanced by an expected higher pesticide use
on genetically engineered pesticide-resistant crops. |
It is questionable how such an increase in MRLs can be justified in an age of increasing environmental pollution by chemicals. The synergetic effects of almost one hundred thousand artificial chemicals in our environment is unknown. But they could well be the cause of a series of 'modern' illnesses, such as cancer and asthma.
"Substantial equivalence" (1)
Is GM Food Devoid of DNA Safe?
The following extract discusses the risks from food containing GM derivatives
"Many yeast strains are being engineered to have a higher metabolism
and as a result, enhanced fermentation properties in processes such as
bread baking and beer production. However, an investigation of GE yeast
containing extra copies of genes involved in the metabolism of glucose,
found that they also accumulate a highly toxic and mutagenic substance
known as methylglyoxal. The authors of this study warn that careful
thought should be given to the nature and safety of metabolic products
when GE yeast are used in food-related fermentation processes especially
since current risk assessments based upon the principle of substantial
equivalence are unlikely to detect any harmful substances.
[From List: Biotech Activists (email@example.com) Date Posted: 11/06/1999 Posted by: RBBAX@aol.com]
|"Substantial equivalence" (2)||
A fundamental scientifique critique of "substantial equivalence" can be found on the web site of Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application
of Science and Technology
Dysfunctional science, from which we quote: [...]
An example of flawed science : Global acceptance of a useless principle for food safety assessment
A drastic example of how seriously flawed scientists may become is illustrated by the decision to accept the principle of "Substantial Equivalence" for the assessment of the safety of Genetically Engineered foods. In brief, the principle means that if a genetically engineered food appears to be similar to its natural counterpart it can be assumed to be as safe as the natural variety.
The concept of "Substantial equivalence" was invented by lawyers working for the Biotech industry with the openly declared purpose of facilitating rapid approval of GE foods in the US. It has no tenable scientific basis, as explained in the document "Substantial equivalence versus scientific food safety assessment". In spite of its obvious lack of scientific backing it was officially supported by scientific expert committees for food safety appointed by the United Nation organ FAO, as well as by the European Union (EU) and the United States. Governments consequently adopted it and integrated it into their laws for regulating GE foods.
"Substantially equivalent" foods were allowed by law to be put onto the market without any thorough testing of their safety, although it has been established in the laboratory that GE may induce the appearance of unexpected and potentially harmful substances (see "The safety of GE foods").
The consequence is that millions of people all over the world are now being exposed to GE foods that have not been tested sufficiently to ensure their safety.[...] Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology
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