the latest issue of the Organic NZ magazine has made its way from sunny aotearoa (well, actually the postmark says singapore!) to snowy munich, & as usual it is packed with excellent articles. the focus this issue is cancer, with many stories from cancer survivors about diet and other lifestyle changes that have aided their recovery.
as usual there are also the somewhat depressing articles about the ever-increasing assault by GM companies on our rights as consumers to choose a GE-free diet. a new concern is that cows in new zealand are not only eating healthy grass, as nature intended them to, they are also being feed imported meal which in many cases contains genetically engineered ingredients such as soy, maize and cottonseed. there is no requirement (yet) for dairy producers to label their products as "may contain genetically modified substances", which means that the people of new zealand are now in a similar position to those in the USA, where unlabelled GM food has been forced on them for the last 20 years.
to be sure to avoid GM contamination, buy only certified organic dairy products! if you think you can't afford to, think about this: do you really want to put into your body substances that have NOT been tested for human consumption AT ALL, and that in tests on rats indicate increased tumours and other negative effects? do you want to feed your children this stuff?
furthermore, an application is currently before Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) by dow, monsanto and bayer to approve soybeans that have been genetically engineered to withstand a pesticide cocktail of 24D, glufosinate amonium and roundup. the application only cites unpublished research done internally by dow chemicals themselves, yet FSANZ has concluded in its safety assessment that "On the basis of the data provided in the present application, and other available information, food derived from soybean line DAS-44406-6 is considered to be as safe for human consumption as food derived from conventional soybean cultivars."
what "other available information" is FSANZ talking about? there is not one single study investigating the effects of the chemical cocktail of 24D, glufosinate amonium and roundup on human health. not a single one. there is no "other available information". i am emailing FSANZ to ask them what this "other available information" might be, since clearly internal unpublished studies by the corporate applicant can hardly be regarded as unbiased or good science. if you also want to ask them the same question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
we should all be deeply concerned about this. without actual studies, there is no way to know the safety of these products, and every indication is that it is NOT SAFE. reputable scientists such as gilles-eric saralini, ignacio chapela, Arpad Pusztai and others have been harrassed and attacked for publishing research that questions the safety of GMOs. the excellent documentary Genetic Roulette shows the stories of farmers bankrupted by GE companies, health and fertility problems suffered by cows and other animals fed GE food, and draws very strong connections between GE food and human health problems from autism to cancer.
in new zealand, GE is creeping into our environment through "accidentally" contaminated seed imports, GE cattle feed, escaped field trials, and the carcasses of GE cows rotting and leaching into the ground. we have no idea what the long-term consequences of such contamination might be. i hope it will be minimal and reversable, but there's nothing to measure this on. it's one giant gamble, and the corporations - dow, monsanto and bayer - are gambling with OUR LIVES and those of our children and grandchildren.
incidentally, guess who owns the company that imports GE cattle feed into new zealand, cargill? yep. monsanto.