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.

 

6 August 2011

Mayor Neil Tiller, CEO and all Councillors

Kaipara District Council

Private Bag 9001

DARGAVILLE

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 some 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 both Far North District Council and Auckland Council recently voted unanimously to join with the Inter Council Working Party considering this collaborative plan change which would include a robust analysis of Section 32.

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.1

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 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.

The Canadian 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 ensure avoidance of the adverse impacts on Northland's biosecurity, unique biodiversity, economy, primary producers and public health.

We understand from GE free Kaipara that you recently voted to invite the Convenor of the ICWP on GE/GM organisms, Dr Kerry Grundy, to provide a GE Workshop for your council, in which he will provide up-to-date information about what local authorities can do to protect their constituents and the environment from these novel organisms, in addition to national minimal environmental standards under the HSNO Act.  We understand that WDC, FNDC and Auckland Council have already had such a presentation.

We applaud Council's decision to obtain up-to-date information in keeping with your existing operative strong precautionary policy on GE/GM in your Long Term Council Community Plan 2009/10 and Annual Plan 2011/12.  We stress the importance of having local rules preventing the use of land for GE/GM organisms given the complex and intergenerational risks of this novel science to human health, the environment and ecology of your region, your economy and to the tourism industry.

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.

A response from the Minister for the Environment to our Open Letter restates the current flawed processes for regulation and does not address the specific points raised.  (The response to our Open Letter to Government can be seen on our website:

http://www.psgr.org.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=90:response-to-open-letter-to-government-2011&catid=28:letters-to-government&Itemid=41; The Open Letter on

http://www.psgr.org.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85:open-letter-to-government-23-may-2011&catid=28:letters-to-government&Itemid=41.)

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

Signed by the Trustees of Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility

  

Enc:

Reprod Toxicol. 2011 Feb 18 ‘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.

 

We further recommend sourcing:

‘Who benefits from GE crops?  An industry built on myths?’ February 2011, Issue 121. 

A comprehensive report from Friends of the Earth International, available one Earth International, available on

www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2011/who-benefits-from-GE-crops-2011

The increased potential for ‘super’ weeds to develop since the emergence of genetically engineered crops is discussed on the PSGR Science Watch page of Organic New Zealand, January/February 2011 Issue, Vol. 70 No 1. Superweeds are plants that tolerate multiple herbicides, including the active ingredient in RoundUp, glyphosate. 

The increased potential for ‘super’ weeds to develop since the emergence of genetically engineered crops is discussed on the PSGR Science Watch page of Organic New Zealand, January/February 2011 Issue, Vol. 70 No 1. Superweeds are plants that tolerate multiple herbicides, including the active ingredient in RoundUp, glyphosate.

A new Greenpeace video explains how genetic engineering is a threat to food security, ‘Plant genetic 

A new Greenpeace video explains how genetic engineering is a threat to food security, ‘Plant genetic

engineering in Africa’, 14 December 2010.

www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/Multimedia/Video1/Genetic-engineering-The-worlds-greatest-scam/

The Research Committee of Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN), based in Caen, France, says research conducted by scientists from France, Italy, New Zealand, Britain and the US corroborates the decade-long criticism by public interest organizations that European Food Safety Agencies and the FDA have used unreliable tests to assess the safety of food and products containing genetically engineered organisms.  ‘How subchronic and chronic health effects can be neglected for GMOs, pesticides or chemicals’, Gilles-Eric Séralini et al., Int. J Biol. Sci 2009, 5:438-443. Review on . 

The Research Committee of Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN), based in Caen, France, says research conducted by scientists from France, Italy, New Zealand, Britain and the US corroborates the decade-long criticism by public interest organizations that European Food Safety Agencies and the FDA have used unreliable tests to assess the safety of food and products containing genetically engineered organisms.  ‘How subchronic and chronic health effects can be neglected for GMOs, pesticides or chemicals’, Gilles-Eric Séralini et al., Int. J Biol. Sci 2009, 5:438-443. Review on www.biolsci.org/v05p0438.htm.

Agence France-Presse reports “Agricultural GM companies and evaluation committees systematically overlook the side effects of GMOs and pesticides.  This is clearly illustrated by the EFSA and the US FDA, which evaluated the controversial GM maize varieties MON 863 and MON 810."

Agence France-Presse, Caen, 8 July 2009, ‘Study criticises testing conducted by Brussels on GMOs’; http://actu.orange.fr/articles/sciences/Une-etude-met-en-/.

PSGR’s concerns were voiced in our letter to all New Zealand Councils dated 1 February 2011 on  , and in our Open Letter to Government detailed on page 3 of this letter. 

PSGR’s concerns were voiced in our letter to all New Zealand Councils dated 1 February 2011 on  http://www.psgr.org.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=84:letter-to-councils-and-dhbs-2011&catid=26:letters-to-nz-councils&Itemid=41, and in our Open Letter to Government detailed on page 3 of this letter.

The PSGR website also includes Frequently Asked Questions: 

The PSGR website www.psgr.org.nz also includes Frequently Asked Questions:

http://www.psgr.org.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54&Itemid=25.

 

 

Ends