INDEPENDENT NEWS

Manufacturers Say GE Food Safe, Questions Raised

Published: Tue 28 Aug 2001 03:27 PM
As Manufacturers Continue To Say GE Food Is Safe, Questions Are Raised
Report by Steven Druker, US public interest attorney who appeared before
the Royal Commission in January, as an expert witness for GE Free New Zealand in
Food and Environment, comments on flawed Royal Commission report in respect
of genetically modified foods.
"The report issued in July 2001 is to a substantial degree inaccurate and
imbalanced, giving undue weight to questionable claims that cast genetic
engineering in a favourable light while unjustifiably discounting and even
ignoring sound evidence that implies problems." says Steven Druker. "The
report's tendency to skew the presentation in favour of bioengineering even
at the expense of factual accuracy is readily apparent in its discussion of
genetically engineered (GE) foods and consumer safety."
"Considering the extent and the severity of these errors, it is reasonable
to regard their report as substantially unreliable - and to reject the
commission's conclusions and adopt a more precautionary approach based on a
proper understanding of the facts." he suggests.
"It systematically downplays and under-reports evidence suggesting hazards,
even to the extent of excluding much of it, while it regularly relies on
weak, unsubstantiated and sometimes false assertions from biotech proponents
to counter and often override well-grounded concerns expressed by experts.
Further, its procedures are so loose and careless that it not only
incorporates many false statements by others but also contains many
blatantly false assertions of its own." says Steven.
"As the extensive information about the health hazards of GE foods that the
RC report has suppressed becomes better publicised, it is to be expected
that consumers around the world will resist them even more intensely.
Accordingly, if New Zealand agriculture invests heavily in GE crops, it will
ultimately be the worse for it. More important, given the unique risks
entailed by these foods and the serious deficiencies in the current
regulatory process, it is clear they pose an unacceptable health hazard and
that none should have yet come to market."
"Consequently the commission owe the nation an explanation and also an
apology for having consumed so much public money and the time of so many
people in such an errant and irresponsible manner.' Druker concludes. "The
people of New Zealand have solid grounds on which to reject the report and
its conclusions and to demand that their elected representatives do the
same - and that they responsibly safeguard the nation's agriculture and the
health of its citizens by promptly imposing a ban on the planting and
marketing of all genetically engineered foods."
Ends

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