GENET archive


REGULATION & POLICY: Calls to ban MON863 Bt Maize from thePhilippines and New Zealand

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  Group urges recall of 'toxic' biotech corn
SOURCE: MindaNews, Philippines
AUTHOR: Allen V. Estabillo
DATE:   15.03.2007

Group urges recall of 'toxic' biotech corn

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 March) - A multisectoral group
opposing the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the country
today called for the immediate recall from the market of a corn strain
produced by biotechnology company Monsanto that allegedly contain toxic

Eliezer Billanes, chair of the Socsksargends Agenda, said a study
released today by environmental group Greenpeace showed that Monsanto's
(MON) 863 YieldGard Rootworm was affirmed by scientists to contain
elements that may potentially cause liver and kidney toxicity.

Soccsksargends Agenda stands for South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan
Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos City, Davao del Sur Alliance for
Genuine Development. Among the members of the alliance are the Social
Action Centers of the dioceses of Marbel, Kidapawan and Digos.

"This shows that we we're right all long with our calls for the
immediate ban of the production and importation of all GMO crops and
products for the fact that no conclusive studies could show until now
that they are really safe," he told MindaNews.

He urged the national government to commission an independent study
about the safety of MON 863 corn and other GMO products that are already
in the market.

Daniel Ocampo, Greenpeace Southeast Asia's genetic engineering
campaigner, said a study made by a panel of three independent scientists
in France showed that laboratory tests made on rats fed with the
genetically-modified organism (GMO)-based corn Monsanto (MON) 863
YieldGard Rootworm displayed kidney and liver toxicity.

He said the questioned product is reportedly being used in the country
for the last three years for food, feed and processing.

Ocampo said the study, entitled "New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study
with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity"
is coming out this week in scientific journal "Archives of Environmental
Contamination and Toxicology."

He said the study analyzed results of safety tests submitted by Monsanto
to the European Commission (EC) when the company was seeking
authorization to market MON 863 in the European Union.

Monsanto and government agriculture officials were not immediately
available for comment but press statements published by Monsanto on its
website confirmed that the alleged toxic genetically modified corn had
been approved for commercial use in the Philippines in 2003.

"This product (MON 863 YieldGard Rootworm) has completed full regulatory
review and has been grown commercially in the United States and Canada
since 2003, and has also been approved for import and food use in many
countries around the world, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the
Philippines, Russia and Mexico," the company statement cited.

It contended that MON 863 Yieldgard (R) Rootworm, which "contains a
protein that specifically targets corn rootworm larvae, allowing the
corn plant to naturally protect its roots against the damaging pest,"
had been proven to be safe for human and animal consumption.

Ocampo said the "incriminating data" was obtained by Greenpeace
following a court case, and was passed on for evaluation by a team of
experts headed by Prof. Gilles Eric SÚralini, a governmental expert in
genetic-engineering from the University of Caen in France.

"This case is especially significant to the Philippines right now in the
light of the Bureau of Plant Industry's (BPI) claims this week that they
enforce stringent regulatory systems for the approval of GMOs," Ocampo
said in a statement emailed to MindaNews.

He said MON 863 was approved in several countries around the world and
was approved in the Philippines by the BPI in October 2003.

But Ocampo pointed out that the approval of a GMO by the government is
not a guarantee of its safety.

"The BPI may repeatedly assure the public that GMOs have passed their
standards. But as this latest evidence shows, these remain empty boasts.
Genetic manipulation of organisms is dangerously unpredictable; no GMO
has ever undergone long-term testing. The MON 863 case is the first time
that a GMO product authorized for use as food for humans and animals has
been shown to have adverse effects on internal organs. It is a clear
warning of the inherent risks of GMOs," he said.

Ocampo said Greenpeace is also demanding the complete and immediate
withdrawal of MON 863 corn from the global market, for the government to
undertake an urgent reassessment of all other authorized GMO products
and a strict review of current testing methods.

He also urged for a moratorium on the approval of GMOs for human consumption.

Billanes said that aside from recalling the commercialization of GMO
products, the government should also impose the mandatory labeling of
all feed and consumer products that contain biotechnology-enhanced

So far, at least 25 GMO food crops -- including corn, soybean, sugar
beet, alfalfa, potato and cotton -- have been approved by the BPI for
direct use in food, feed, and processing, while four GMO corn crops are
approved for propagation.

Records show that 24 of the 29 GMOs approved in the country were
developed by Monsanto. The BPI is reviewing an application for a GMO
strain of rice, LL62, developed by Bayer Cropscience.

Scientists from the departments of Agriculture and Health have
repeatedly assured the safety of GMO crops and products that have been
approved by the government for commercialization, saying they all passed
proper testing standards prior to their approval.

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                                  PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Monsanto deception casts doubt on safety of NZ approved foods
SOURCE: Green Party, New Zealand
AUTHOR: Press Release
DATE:   15.03.2007

Monsanto deception casts doubt on safety of NZ approved foods

The Green Party is calling for FSANZ to immediately withdraw its
approval for human consumption of a genetically modified corn after it
was revealed the company hid test results showing it caused illness in rats.

Monsanto was forced by a German court to reveal raw data it had
concealed from the public relating to its testing of MON863 corn, used
when it sought approval to import it into the European Union.

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says our own Food Safety
Authority accepted the misleading Monsanto interpretation of the rat
feeding study without asking for the actual results. It approved MON683
for animal feed and human consumption in this country in October 2003.

"FSANZ's approval of MON863 for use in food and feed in New Zealand
should be immediately withdrawn.

"An independent scientific evaluation of the raw data of a 13-week rat
feed study that Monsanto submitted to the European authorities shows
that the company mis-analysed the test's results and used highly
questionable statistical procedures.

Independent analysis of the raw data showed the rats' kidney and liver
function was disturbed and their growth was slowed.

"This shows that FSANZ has been gullible in accepting Monsanto's
interpretation of their test results. It should have asked for the
actual test results.

"When FSANZ was later provided with the raw data, after the Green Party
highlighted concerns in 2004, the authority continued to accept
Monsanto's flawed interpretation.

"FSANZ must stop accepting company propaganda in the place of scientific
evidence, and demand to see the test data of animal feeding studies," Ms
Fitzsimons says.

Greens' Genetically Engineered Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says the
news cast further doubt on the safety of GE food.

"This calls into question FSANZ's other approvals of GE food and feed
and the processes they use to evaluate them. An urgent reassessment is
needed, which must include independent reviews of all test data," Ms
Kedgley says.

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