Soil & Health Association

Food regulator ignores health risks of GE potatoes

Food regulator ignores health risks of GE potatoes

Soil & Health Association 4 October 2017
Media release    

New Zealanders could soon be eating crisps and hot chips made from GE potatoes, with little idea of the added health risks from genetic engineering. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), which has just approved six new lines of GE potatoes for human consumption, has breached its duty of care to consumers, says the Soil & Health Association.

Last week the Trans-Tasman food regulator released its decision approving the sale of food derived from potatoes that have been genetically engineered for disease resistance to foliar late blight, reduced blackspot bruising and reduced acrylamide potential. The potatoes are aimed at fast food outlets and the frozen chip and crisps market.

“FSANZ has a legal requirement to protect the health and safety of people in Australia and New Zealand through the maintenance of a safe food supply,” says Soil & Health chair Graham Clarke. “By approving these potato lines without sufficient evidence to prove that they are safe to eat, FSANZ has effectively breached this legal requirement.”

“Soil & Health is further concerned that due to New Zealand’s weak food labelling laws, consumers may not even know whether they’re consuming the GE potatoes or not,” says Clarke.

Soil & Health made a joint submission with GE Free NZ on the application, and referenced a number of studies that show harm from eating GE foods, which FSANZ has dismissed and ignored. The submission highlighted how no independent food safety experiments had been carried out on the GE potato lines.

Food Safety Minister Needs To Question GE Food Safety and Labeling

Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson needs to ensure a comprehensive review of the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food ingredients and GE food safety in New Zealand, now that 40 different GE food applications have been approved for use in New Zealand, including foods derived from 61 GE plant lines (1), according to the Soil & Health Association of New Zealand. Soil & Health says the latest approvals (2) have gone through despite an increase in evidence of the health risks from GE food.

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