True Food Guide misleading on GM: PGA

24 Nov, 2008 02:12 PM

Canola growers in WA have challenged food writer Margaret Fulton and nutritionist Rosemary Stanton to declare the scientific basis for their opposition to genetically modified foods.

PGA Western Graingrowers chairman Leon Bradley said their decision to declare public support for the Greenpeace campaign against GM technology was motivated more by a quest for personal publicity than for any factual consideration.

"We would expect the usual collection of pro organic retailers, processors, and chefs to fall in line with Greenpeace, but for two eminent food personalities to cast doubt over a perfectly safe food source - apparently without checking their facts – is seriously irresponsible," Mr Bradley said.

"The global success of GM canola already supersedes any of the misinformation Greenpeace puts out to the public, and it will succeed in Australia – not just because Australian farmers need it to remain competitive, but because the Australian public cannot be fooled.

"The latest subscribers to this anti-GM campaign are guilty of taking a populist stance without checking the real facts.

"Are they also prepared to argue that Insulin is dangerous to diabetics because it is derived from GM technology?"

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Madeleine Love
24/11/2008 4:51:00 PM

Some people only need commonsense to declare an opposition to GM foods, but there is certainly a strong scientific basis underlying that commonsense. I am a member of one of only two financially disinterested community organisations reading into the science of GM safety assessment. After reading the GM canola assessment documents from 'around the world' - the US FDA, US EPA, Canada, Japan, European FSA, Australia - and finding profound inconsistencies and mis-statements, I ordered the material provided by the crop developer (Monsanto) to Food Standards Australia New Zealand to try to identify aspects of the truth. It took months before FSANZ provided this data, but it now surrounds me on this desk. As suspected, the crop developer (Monsanto) was not able to identify and characterize one of its intended GM proteins in the GM canola planted in Victoria and New South Wales this year. Instead they supplied Food Standards with information about a protein that was not expected to be present in the crop. The GM RR crop has been approved on false grounds. The protein they were looking for is expected to be comprised of both bacterial and flower structures that have never been consumed before in the human diet. It is essential to know exactly what the protein is so it can be tested for allergenicity, since most food allergic reactions are caused by proteins in the food. This is a small comment forum, perhaps it's inappropriate to write so much, but everyone who FEELS wrong about GM food should know that there is a strong scientific base supporting that feeling of unease. GM promoters have repeatedly stated that we have been eating GM food for years with no ill effects. However there have been no studies to investigate if GM food has been safe to eat or not, and this was confirmed by Food Standards Chief Scientist Dr Paul Brent (02 6271 2222) at a Senate Estimates hearing on October 22nd this year, under questioning from Senator Rachel Siewert. Madeleine Love, MADGE (Mothers are Demystifying Genetic Engineering),
John Paull
24/11/2008 5:33:38 PM

Leon Bradley asserts that GM canola is "a perfectly safe food". Please produce the evidence for such a claim. I suggest that the evidence does NOT exist. Australian farmers do not "remain competitive" by growing food that no-one wants. Where are the consumers clamouring for GM-food? Such consumers are a figment of the imagination of Australian grain-growers. If they are so proud of it, please clearly label all GM food. Animals fed on GM grain also need to be clearly labelled so that consumers can make informed choices. The selling point for GM canola is that you can herbicide it with glyphosate and it won't die. There is no advantage there for consumers, and the environment bears this toxic dumping. Meanwhile, the herbicide dollars head back to the USA. Leon Bradley asks for the scientific basis of opposition to GM food. He could start with two books by Jeffrey M Smith: (a) "Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safely of the Genetically Engineered Foods you're Eating" (b) "Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of genetically Engineered Foods". If GM food is the answer, it may be the grain-growers have got hold of the wrong question. Do Australian farmers really wants a US pesticide company to own the rights to their seed?
24/11/2008 5:55:23 PM

What, the WA farmers haven't read the latest 2008 study commissioned by the Austrian Government? "Biological effects of transgenic maize NK603xMON810 fed in long term reproduction studies in mice" (Forschungsberichte), which suggests a possibility exists that mice with longterm exposure to GMO feed may experience negative impacts on metabolic parameters and reproduction levels. Go Margaret and Rosemary - drag those WA farmers into this century.
Nick Ray
24/11/2008 6:05:22 PM

The significant difference between producing insulin and present GM crops is that insulin is produced in laboratory conditions. As has been seen in the US and Canada, Gm crops can spread and contaminate conventional crops. Many of the concerns of Gm crops related not only to food safety but also to the multinational control of our food by chemical companies who presently own the patents to the Gm technology. The fact is that farmers have been sued by these companies when patented seed has turned up in their conventional non-Gm crop. I argue that the 'populist' stance taken is in taking on a technological fix without adequately assessing the risks as seen in present Gm crops around the world.
24/11/2008 6:37:43 PM

Mr Bradley must live in fairy land. How can he say GMOs are safe? They have NEVER EVER been proven to be safe by independent research. Conversely they have been found to be most undesirable to say the very least. Mr Bradley, you may fool some of the people some of the time but you won't fool them all the time. Besides, I wouldn't ever consider consuming canola - GM or otherwise, especially now that there is a real threat of GM contamination. Real farmers don't destroy their soil with toxic chemical and GM crops.
Robert Vickers
24/11/2008 7:02:00 PM

The truth is out there Leon Bradley, and consumers are starting to wake-up to the fact they are being taken for mugs. GM is all about the biotech companies getting rich by controlling the food supply - I know "conspiracy theory." There are enough reasons to worry about GM that consumers will not buy it given the choice and accurate labelling, and you can bluster all you like, but if people won't buy it, why would farmers want to grow it? Now you mention GM Human Insulin, where has the TGA been all these years diabetics have been complaining about undiagnosed "un-wellness" that goes away when they start on natural animal insulin? There is a future for GM, but only after the current corrupt science and business practice is replaced with a system people can trust.
24/11/2008 7:11:04 PM

I will believe those that care about the Whole presentation of food. Who are these farmers anyway. Care for this earth and ALL her creatures. No GM contamination in my food thanks.
Organic Maven
24/11/2008 7:29:11 PM

They are probably not prepared to argue that Insulin is dangerous, but I guarantee that they'll give you a run for your money about what over-processed foods led to the need for such Insulin products in our society. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.
24/11/2008 7:45:42 PM

Why does Leon Bradley always have to make personal attacks on people that oppose GM foods? Since when did the likes of Fulton and Stanton have to struggle for publicity? Here we have two very well respected 'foodies' launching a welcomed tool that over 90% of consumers ( according to recent polls) want i.e. information on which products in the supermarket contain GM ingredients. Of course Leon doesn't like this and his only option is to attack the person as he cannot attack the facts.
24/11/2008 8:43:41 PM

The story of GM food is a horror story. For instance, by 2004, US farmers used an estimated 86% more herbicide on GM soy fields compared to non-GM. Higher levels of herbicide residue in GM soy might cause health problems. In fact, many symptoms identified in the UK soy allergy study are also related to glyphosate exposure. The allergy study identified irritable bowel syndrome, digestion problems, chronic fatigue, headaches, lethargy, and skin complaints including acne and eczema, all related to soy consumption. Symptoms of glyphosate exposure include nausea, headaches, lethargy, skin rashes, and burning or itchy skin. It is also possible that glyphosate‘s breakdown product AMPA, which accumulates in GM soybeans after each spray, might contribute to allergies. Is this what you call 'global success' of GM crops?
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