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Biotech firm seeks official approval to contaminate food crops

31 August, 2006

Concern is mounting that Food Standards Australia New Zealand are being pressured by international biotech companies to officially approve contamination of food with GE crops designed for industrial and pharmaceutical production.

Syngenta has applied to FSANZ to allow a bio-fuel GM corn into the human food chain because of expectations that it will contaminate food anyway.

"The biotech companies are admitting that they have inadequate systems to segregate GE crops not intended for consumption." says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ ( in food and environment).

"But it seems instead of preventing contamination by containing their production, they want government approval to contaminate food so they are not held responsible."

The application to FSANZ says that there are fears corn derived from the genetically engineered corn Line 3272 will mix with corn intended for the food chain and could enter the Australian and New Zealand food supply as imported and processed foods.

There are also warnings from scientists and medical professionals that such applications may be just the start of many aimed at officially sanctioning food contamination by pharmaceutical-producing crops.

Professor Joe Cummins from the UK-based Institute of Science in Society says French authorities have already allowed the growing of transgenic maize with monoclonal antibodies known to cause severe and even fatal side-effects in people.

If such allowances are made there is a fundamental threat to public health. The very idea of allowing contamination of food by industrial and pharmaceutical crops presages a spiral down into a degraded food supply where few if any foods will remain clean of contaminants.

It is vital no allowances are made for this contamination, and that food authorities ensure segregation, including banning GM production outside a contained lab.

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