GENET archive


9-Misc: Australia going to crush unlicenced GE feed-aid from the U.S.

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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

SOURCE: GeneEthics Network, Australia, press Release
DATE:   Jan 8, 2003

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Fifty thousand tonnes of US corn containing genetically engineered (GE) 
varieties arrives in Brisbane today on the Ocean Emperor (into Newcastle 
and Melbourne later) for use as chicken feed. The Gene Technology Regulator 
licensed the cargo even though some GE lines have not been assessed or 
approved in Australia. "Japan and Europe reject US corn over environmental, 
human, and animal health concerns, and India and Zambia will not accept it 
as food aid," says GeneEthics Network Director, Bob Phelps. "We therefore 
call on the Australian government to send this ship and its suspect load 
back to the USA," he says.

"US GE corn is not needed here as animal feed, even for drought relief, as 
350,000 tonnes of imported GE-free wheat and sorghum are also approved and 
Australian grains are available," he says.

"GE corn also poses economic risks for Australian food exporters as Europe 
and some Asian markets reject foods (meat, milk, eggs and honey, etc) from 
animals fed GE grains," he says.

"Products from animals fed GE would be labeled in Europe but not here," he 

"GE corn imports affront the 68% of Australians who want to reject foods 
made with gene technology," he says.

"And the 93% of Australian shoppers who want all GE foods labeled are 
outraged by the lack of meaningful labels on any GE products here," he says.

"Though the corn will be processed on arrival, so it may not contaminate 
Australia, full public assessments of the animal and human health issues 
should have been required before the licence was granted," he says.

"For example, breeding sows in the USA fail to conceive when fed GE corn 
containing insect toxin, which the Regulator is still assessing," he says.

"Send this GE corn back to the USA till it's proven safe and saleable," Mr 
Phelps concludes.

More comment
Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500
John Hepburn (Greenpeace) 02 9263 0302

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Grain to get anti-GM treatment
SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, by Mark Metherell
DATE:   Jan 9, 2003

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Grain to get anti-GM treatment

A 48,000-tonne shipment of US corn likely to contain genetically modified 
(GM) grain is to be crushed and steamed to prevent the uncontrolled spread 
of GM seed in Australia. The grain, imported for poultry food, is due to 
arrive in Brisbane by sea this morning. It is the first shipment of corn 
subjected to Australia's GM safeguards. The unusual import of the grain has 
been triggered by feed shortages caused by the drought. But the anti-GM 
group, the GeneEthics Network, has called on the Australian Government to 
send the shipment back as GM-free supplies were available. A Health 
Department spokeswoman said the corn would be milled, steamed and made into 
pellets in a high-security process which would prevent GM seed germinating 
in Australia. She said GM elements would be destroyed by the process and 
there was no scientific evidence to suggest the GM content would pass on to 
the poultry. But the Australian Consumers Association head, Louise Sylvan, 
said even if there was no GM residue in resulting human food, consumers had 
a right to know GM ingredients were used in food production and this was 
not provided for by Australia's labelling laws.


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