INDEPENDENT NEWS

GE Foods "Health Timebomb"

Published: Tue 9 May 2000 08:54 AM
Press Release
Dr Paul Butler
GE Foods "Health Timebomb"
GE foods are a potential "health timebomb" as they are being served up for human consumption without sufficient testing. This is the message of Dr Paul Butler, spokesperson for Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics, who was speaking at today’s ERMA Science Seminar on Gene Technology.
"As concerned doctors and scientists we are deeply worried that GE foods have been released into the human food chain without adequate testing for potential toxicity and adverse long-term effects," Dr Butler said.
"This is an unsupportable double-standard considering that drugs have to go through such a rigorous testing regieme before they are unleashed on the public. "Yet, with genetically-engineered foods, this standard of rigorous testing has effectively been thrown out the door.
"We believe that science is not working for the public good in this case. Rather it has been captured by multi-national biotech companies hellbent on profit, who have forced GE foods onto an unsuspecting public. "It is appalling that so much GE food has been introduced unlabelled, with the consumer having no right of choice.
"We hope the tide is now turning, because of the massive public opposition to this enforced diet of GE foods." Dr Butler said his group was not opposed to GE technology as such, but simply wanted GE products to be adequately tested before being released for human consumption.
"We want the same standards that apply to drugs to be enforced with GE foods. It is time the consumer took control of this process, not the multi-nationals trying to make a fast buck." Dr Butler said his group was definitely opposed to any GE foods being grown outside of laboratory conditions, because of the risk that GE organisms posed to the environment.
"As human beings, we are playing with a frighteningly powerful technology with GE, which could have catastrophic environmental effects if something goes seriously wrong. "GE scientists claim they have everything under control, but you only have to look back to things like Mad Cow disease, Chernobyl, or thalodamide to see what can potentially go wrong despite scientist’s assurances."
Dr Butler said that Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics welcomed the Royal Commission of Inquiry, and asked that the Government take note of the risks New Zealanders are facing right now from GE foods and GE organisms in the environment.
For further information, contact Dr Paul Butler 025-973-364

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