GENTECH archive 8.96-97


Press Release fronm New Zealand

Here is a copy of a very interesting press release on the subject of
genetic engineering from New Zealand 

5 Adam St, PO Box 17-273, Greenlane, Auckland, New Zealand
Tel: 9-522 1043   Fax: 9-524 6003

25 February 1997

Genetically engineered soybeans will increase
herbicide residues in food by up to 200 times

Auckland, 25 February 1997

The US-based manufacturers of a genetically engineered soybean have
 applied to the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) for a two
 hundred fold increase in Roundup residues in Soybeans. The
 application calls for allowable residues in dry soybeans to rise from
 0.1mg/Kg to 20mg/Kg.

The dramatic increase in residues results from the Roundup Ready
 Soybean, a genetically engineered soybean produced by Monsanto,
 which is resistant to Monsanto's own brand of herbicide - Roundup.
 Last year, Monsanto promised the New Zealand public on Morning
 Report that such genetically engineered crops would result in reduced
 use of herbicides. This year the truth is coming out. The New York
 Times reports that soybean farmers in the USA are dowsing their crops
 liberally with Roundup. Monsanto is reported as very pleased by the
 increased sales of Roundup. However, consumers should not be
 pleased, since soybeans now contain dramatically elevated residues
 of the herbicide. Soybeans are used in up to 60% of processed foods
 such as baby foods, chocolate, bread, pasta, sauces, ice cream etc.

New Zealand now purchases its food regulations from ANZFA, which
 has quietly called for public submissions on the soybean application.
 However, ANZFA is based in remote Canberra and the news has hardly
 reached the New Zealand public. Submissions close tomorrow 26th
 February. ANZFA appears to be hurrying the application because the
 first shipment of genetically engineered soybeans cannot be used until
 the increase in herbicide residues is approved.

The Roundup ready soybean also contains genetic fragments of soil
 bacteria and the cauliflower mosaic virus. Scientists have already
 expressed fears that the soybean may cause serious health risks
 including new illnesses and allergies. Dr Joseph Cummins, Professor
 Emeritus of Genetics at University of Western Ontario warns:

    "Probably the greatest threat from genetically altered crops is the
 insertion of modified virus and insect virus genes into crops. It has
 been shown in the laboratory that genetic recombination  will create
 highly virulent new viruses from such constructions. Certainly the widely
 used  cauliflower mosaic virus is a potentially dangerous gene. It is a
 pararetrovirus meaning that it multiplies by making DNA from RNA
 messages. It is very similar to the Hepatitis B virus and  related to HIV.
 Modified viruses could cause famine by destroying crops or cause
 human and animal diseases of tremendous power."

The threat of increased herbicide residues in food demonstrates again
 that the New Zealand public have nothing to gain from genetically
 engineered food. Overseas biotechnology companies are seeking
 open access to NZ markets for their hazardous gene-altered foods
 which are untested as to their long term effect on human health.

For more information call: Guy Hatchard, Director, Natural Food
Commission  (09) 478 1208

Richard Wolfson,  PhD
Campaign to Ban Genetically Engineered Food
Natural Law Party
500 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, ON  Canada  K1N 6N2
Tel. 613-565-8517  Fax. 613-565-6546
To receive regular news from the Campaign to Ban
Genetically Engineered Food, please sent an email
message to, with the words
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