[ Bioenergy ]
24 September 2001
PO Box 12026 Penrose
It seriously compromised the reputation of health doyen Les Mills Takapuna to include in their advertising wrapper adorned with Page 3 girls? (unnecessarily draping your 19 September issue) an article that was so blatantly pro-GE. Even now, the US EPA and CDC have not done adequate testing to be certain. Clearing StarLink GE corn based upon a few tests for signs of protein antibodies in blood is insufficient. Human body systems are a lot more complex in operation for that to be conclusive. Reference to a "vast body of data Ö showing safety of StarLink corn" is spin-doctoring that conveniently ignores the fact the GE has only been experimented with for the last two decades. Safety for human consumption sometimes requires generations for there to be real certainty.
Already there is evidence of GE potatoes being consumed by rats causing stunted growth and other internal problems such as distortion of villi in their colon. What effect this will have is still uncertain but the work of Professor Pusztai and colleagues when at the Rowlett Institute cannot be ignored. These GE potatoes had already been passed as substantially equivalent food by authorities that are supposed to be protecting us.
There is a lot more to it. Genetic engineering distorts ecological development that has taken millennia to evolve. Never before have gene markers crossed species barriers. The integration of artificial vectors used with a transgene is quite random and not controllable by any genetic engineer. There is no guarantee of reliability. Artificial vectors can spread beyond their intended sphere. Unpredicted hazards may ensue. Some humans are playing at being God without knowing what they are doing. I donít believe they should be doing this.
GE monoculture does not have the diversity to be sustainable into the future. Consider the effect of the potato crop collapse in Ireland. Far better to develop organic agriculture especially with the substantially growing demand for safe food across the world. New Zealand has the capability of capitalising on this to the advantage of us all. Keep the GE experiments in the laboratory where they can be contained.
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