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RISK ASSESSMENT & APPROVAL: Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association objects to field test for GE mosquitoes



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   FOMCA OBJECTS TO FIELD TEST FOR TRANSGENIC MOSQUITOES

SOURCE:  Bernama, Malaysia

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=545292

DATE:    24.11.2010

SUMMARY: "The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association has objected to the field tests for the transgenic or genetically modified male mosquitoes to control the population of aedes, saying that it is not confident in the effectiveness of the method. Its secretary-general, Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah said the transgenic mosquito technology was still new in Malaysia and the genetically modified mosquito would probably turn into a more fierce disease vector or carrier."

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FOMCA OBJECTS TO FIELD TEST FOR TRANSGENIC MOSQUITOES

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 (Bernama) -- The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca) has objected to the field tests for the transgenic or genetically modified male mosquitoes to control the population of aedes, saying that it is not confident in the effectiveness of the method.

Its secretary-general, Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah said the transgenic mosquito technology was still new in Malaysia and the genetically modified mosquito would probably turn into a more fierce disease vector or carrier.

"Therefore, any tests that would lead to such a possibility should be avoided until a convincing evidence is found," he said in a statement here Wednesday.

Muhammad Sha'ani said other countries had also recorded higher cases and death toll due to dengue, but were not desperate to use the unproven method.

"The number of dengue victims in the country should not be a reason to disregard safety measures in terms of prevention," he said.

He also said the biological control using transgenic mosquitoes required breeding and the release of the mosquitoes in open habitat repeatedly would be costly.

"It will involve a continuing period of time, including finding an alternative to the strain and the resistant mutants," he said.

The field tests, decided by the National Biosafety Board on Oct 5, will be conducted by the Institute of Medical Research in Bentong, Pahang and Alor Gajah, Melaka.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   ARE GM MOSQUITOES APPROVED BY EPA, FDA?

SOURCE:  Malaysia Kini, Malaysia

AUTHOR:  Taha Kassim

URL:     http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/149170

DATE:    25.11.2010

SUMMARY: "So if the science of GMM is not registered or accepted by developed nations, we should seriously consider this move that the Institute of Medical Research seemed so eager to implement - especially to the human population and ecosystem in developing nations. I do applaud the government for looking for solutions in combatting dengue. However, GMM raises more concerns and has too many questions left unanswered."

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ARE GM MOSQUITOES APPROVED BY EPA, FDA?

This is in response to 'GM Mosquitoes: Stringent protocols in Place' in Malaysiakini Nov 9, 2010.

A lot of talk, comments and counter comments have been going on since talk of genetically modified mosquitoes (GMM) to be released to the environment came about a few months ago.

As a rakyat Malaysia, I have huge reservations on the subject and would like answers on a few things. Such as:

There is no talk that GMM is registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA is one of the most stringent agencies in the world when it comes to issues of the environment.

So, is GMM registered with US EPA over its safety issues to the environment, ecosystem and mankind? What the stand of the authorities on this?

Is the GMM science founded by Oxitec, registered with any of the United Kingdom - European Union authority for Control of Pest Safety to the environment and ecosystem?

If the answer is no, then why not? If yes, then it's great. It's one step closer to providing some peace of mind.

If Ministry of Health (MoH) allows the release of GMM without it being registered with US Environmental Protection Agency or UK government agency (Oxitec is after all a UK company), then maybe it should forget about regulating medication and nutritional products that are governed by US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

The Malaysian Pesticide Board should also do away with US EPA & US FDA regulatory guidelines all together for chemicals and allow just about anything to pass through our shores.

The reason we follow US EPA and FDA guidelines is because it makes sense and provides a good filtering process.

So if the science of GMM is not registered or accepted by developed nations, we should seriously consider this move that the Institute of Medical Research seemed so eager to implement - especially to the human population and ecosystem in developing nations.

I do applaud the government for looking for solutions in combatting dengue. However, GMM raises more concerns and has too many questions left unanswered.

World Health Organisation reported that the Americas had more than 890,000 cases of dengue in 2007 alone (just check their website!). Why isn't GMM implemented there? Come to think of it, why not in other parts of Asia that have much, much higher cases of dengue?