Previously known as Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics PSRGNZ - Charitable Trust
As required under the new 2005 Charities Act, PSGR has reregistered as a charitable trust.

 

26 July 2011

 

Mayor Wayne Brown, CEO, and all councillors

Far North District Council

Private Bag 752

KAIKOHE 0440

 

Dear Sirs and Mesdames

We write to convey our concerns about genetic engineering (GE), also referred to as genetic modification (GM).

We understand that Whangarei District Council (WDC) recently voted unanimously to:

  • undertake a Section 32 analysis as part of a proposed plan change to regulate or ban genetically engineered organisms (GEO/GMO) in a formal way in Whangarei district; and
  • to approach all councils in the Auckland-Far North region to undertake a collaborative plan change to regulate or prevent the use of transgenic organisms in the environment.

We understand that your Council and Auckland Council recently voted unanimously to join in this collaborative plan change which would include a robust analysis of Section 32.

We offer congratulations on these moves and stress the importance of having local rules preventing the use of land for GEOs given the risks of this novel science to human health, the environment and ecology of your region, your economy and tourism industry.

The action taken by WDC and other member councils of the Inter Council Working Party (ICWP) on GMO Risk Evaluation and management Options is particularly commendable given the failure of central government to properly amend the flawed HSNO Act and establish national minimal regulations and truly strict liability, and robust independent testing and evaluation.

It is all the more important in view of the recent Canadian study which revealed the presence of circulating pesticides associated with genetically engineered foods in the blood stream of women, including pregnant women and their unborn children.

Many scientists, doctors and members of the public have warned regulatory agencies that the inherent risks of genetic engineering mean that its products should be limited to laboratory containment and not released into the open environment and especially kept out of the food chain.  The Canadian study supports the wisdom of this precautionary approach and demonstrates the insupportable central claim of the genetic engineering industry that genetically engineered foods are 'substantially equivalent' to conventional foods.

The public have a right to ask why regulatory agencies have accepted such an unlikely and apparently self-serving claim, and why they have failed to demand scientific proof that can be sustained that GE/GM foods are in reality 'substantially equivalent' in every significant way, including safety.

Those with challenged immune systems, the elderly and the young are particularly vulnerable to exposure to toxins.  The unborn are the most vulnerable and the public places its trust in the regulatory authorities whose duty it is to protect the vulnerable.

This study exposes how regulatory agencies, health authorities and governments have failed to respect this trust by allowing these novel products into the human food chain without requiring the proof of safety that any reasonable member of the public would expect.

Genetically engineered organisms should continue to be kept under the strict controls of laboratory confinement, where they can be used for research and medical purposes, and not released into the environment or the food chain.

Prohibition of land being used for GE/GM organisms is the only precautionary action to avoid adverse impacts on Northland's biosecurity, unique biodiversity, economy, primary producers and public health.

We understand that you recently had a GE Workshop with the Convenor of the ICWP on GMOs, Dr Kerry Grundy, in which he provided up-to-date information about what local authorities can do to protect their constituents and the environment from GE/GM organisms, in addition to national minimal environmental standards under the HSNO Act.

We attach our 25 May 2011 Press Release, 'Doctors and Scientists call for a rethink of regulation on genetically engineered food' and you have been emailed our 23 May 2011 Open Letter to Government which complements our submission to your Long Term Council Community Plan.

We look forward to hearing from you and offer our assistance in whatever way we are able.

 

Signed by Trustees

Enc.

Reprod Toxicol. 2011 Feb 18 [Epub ahead of print] ‘Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada’, Aris A, Leblanc S.

Source: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada; Clinical Research Centre of Sherbrooke University Hospital Centre, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada; Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

 

Abstract

Pesticides associated to genetically modified foods (PAGMF), are engineered to tolerate herbicides such as glyphosate (GLYP) and gluphosinate (GLUF) or insecticides such as the bacterial toxin bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between maternal and fetal exposure, and to determine exposure levels of GLYP and its metabolite aminomethyl phosphoric acid (AMPA), GLUF and its metabolite 3-methylphosphinicopropionic acid (3-MPPA) and Cry1Ab protein (a Bt toxin) in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Blood of thirty pregnant women (PW) and thirty-nine nonpregnant women (NPW) were studied. Serum GLYP and GLUF were detected in NPW and not detected in PW. Serum 3-MPPA and CryAb1 toxin were detected in PW, their fetuses and NPW. This is the first study to reveal the presence of circulating PAGMF in women with and without pregnancy, paving the way for a new field in reproductive toxicology including nutrition and utero-placental toxicities.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Press Release

Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility (PSRG) Charitable Trust

25 May 2011

 

Doctors and Scientists call for a rethink of regulation on Genetically Engineered Food

A landmark scientific study in Canada is the first to reveal the presence of circulating pesticides associated with genetically modified foods in the blood stream of women, including pregnant women and their unborn children.

Many scientists, doctors and members of the public have warned regulatory agencies that the inherent risks of genetic engineering mean that its products should be limited to laboratory containment and should be kept out of the open environment and especially out of the food supply.  This study supports the wisdom of this caution.

The study also demonstrates the flaw of the central claim of the genetic engineering industry that genetically engineered/modified (GE/GM) foods are ‘substantially equivalent’ to normal foods.

The public have a right to ask why regulatory agencies have accepted such an unlikely and apparently self-serving claim, and why they have failed to demand appropriate scientific proof that GE/GM foods are in reality ‘substantially equivalent’ in every significant way, including safety.

The unborn are the most vulnerable of people to toxin exposure and the public places its trust in the regulatory authorities whose duty it is to protect the vulnerable.  This study exposes how GE/GM regulatory agencies, health authorities and governments have failed to respect this trust by allowing these novel products into the public food supply without requiring the proof of safety that any reasonable member of the public would expect.

The public will now have the opportunity to observe how these same agencies act, or fail to act, to protect the public interest, now that genuine scientific proof of health risks has been demonstrated.

Ends