July 2011

Eco activists destroy Australian GM wheat crop

AFP - Thu, Jul 14, 2011

        Environmental activists broke into an Australian government research farm Thursday and destroyed an experimental crop of genetically-modified wheat protesting against what they said were safety issues.
       Armed with weed trimmers, three Greenpeace activists scaled a fence at the Canberra facility in the early hours of the morning and razed the crop, which had been modified to lower its glycemic index and increase fibre.
      The government science agency running the trials, CSIRO, confirmed there had been "a break-in overnight at their crop trial site" and it was assessing the damage.
      "The police, and the government's gene technology regulatory authority ... have been informed and are inspecting the site," a CSIRO spokesman told AFP.
"CSIRO is currently assessing the damage to the trial crops and considering next steps."
        Greenpeace said the activists, three women, wore hazardous materials suits to keep them from carrying GM organisms out of the site, and were motivated by concerns about the trial's safety.

Human Trials of GE-Wheat Unethical

Proposals for extending animal feeding studies for GE wheat to humans are unethical and signal the need for an urgent overhaul of the science used by regulators to approve scores of GM foods.

A group of international scientists has warned the developers of a GE-Wheat at the CSIRO in Australia against the proposals. There is an acute ethical issue in the lack of long-term feeding studies in animals, which in some cases show complex and inter-generational harm from the GE food tested of which none of the GM foods approved by Food Authorities have undergone human studies.

Research has recently been published by Professor Peter Gluckman - the New Zealand government's chief scientific advisor - which reveals the complex epigenetic effects relating to maternal diet. The effects continue to the next generation in a way that is not yet understood. This complexity is simply not considered or addressed in safety testing of GE food.

The GE-Wheat been not been adequately tested in animals to even be considered as a candidate for human feeding studies. 

"New Zealand scientists should condemn human feeding trials of GM foods in Australia, and elsewhere," says Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-free NZ in food and environment.

Overseas there are reports of GE "golden" rice also being used in human feeding trials, despite the risks to human health being entirely unnecessary.

"It cannot be ethical to be experimenting on humans with Genetically Engineered food when the disease targeted by the golden-rice magic bullet can easily be prevented," says Jon Carapiet.