GM food approval concerns

Food Standards Australia New Zealand is being accused of failing to respond to concerns about the safety of genetically engineered foods.

Greenpeace’s representative, Louise Sales, said all applications for 50 genetically engineered foods were approved over the last eight years.

“The Australian regulator FSANZ is one of only two regulators in the world to have approved every single GE food that’s come across the desk,” she said.

“The only other regulator that’s got a similar record is the Philippines.”

New Zealand genetic biologist, Professor Jack Heinemann, said the reasoning behind GE food approvals is questionable.

“What you find is a tremendous amount of assumption-based reasoning rather than asking for clear scientific studies,” he said.

“There is an appalling lack of will to test and where there has been a preliminary evidence of harm it has not been properly followed up.”

The Greenpeace report documented eight Australian approvals for foods which had attracted action in other countries.

But Lydia Buchtmann from FSANZ has defended the body’s approval process.

“All GM foods are assessed for safety on a case-by-case basis and only those found to be safe are approved for sale,” she said.

“The safety assessment process for GM foods is based on internationally accepted methods and approaches. These approaches are also used by other countries and endorsed by international bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO).”

She explained that the overwhelming scientific evidence is that GM foods are safe.

“The Greenpeace report contains a number of incorrect statements such as illegal GM foods being allowed for sale in Australia, which they are not, or some GM foods banned in Austria, while not mentioning that they are approved not just by FSANZ but also other regulators such as the European Union US, Canada, and Japan.”

Send this to a friend