28 August 2007- Thailand. Genetically modified (GM) ‘zombie’ crops – papaya, rice, tomato, pineapple and chili – show up at the Government House to give the Cabinet a unique demonstration of what could go wrong should the govenrment lift the ban on GM crop field trials.

Bangkok, THAILAND — Greenpeace activists dressed up as genetically modified (GM) ‘zombie’ crops – papaya, rice, tomato, pineapple and chili – showed up at the Government House today to give the Cabinet a unique demonstration of what could go wrong should Agriculture Minister Thira Sutabutra succeed in his efforts to have the ban on GM crop field trials lifted.

What are GM Foods?

GM foods,or genetically engineered (GE) foods, have ingredients in them that have been modified by a technique called gene technology by scientists.This allows food producers to alter certain characteristics of a food crop by introducing genetic material and proteins from another source. Modifications usually involve changing one gene of the 30,000 — 50,000 or so genes that make up an organism.Horticulturalists and biologists have manipulated plants and animals since mankind first learned that cross breeding can promote more desirable characteristics, such as dogs that can chase rabbits into their holes, or tulips with new colours.The discovery of genes, and the realisation that they control the development of an organism, meant scientists for the first time could insert or remove genes in an organism without having to wait generations of cross breeding for the desirable characteristics to appear.  Examples of GM are a corn plant with a gene that makes it resistant to insect attack, or a wheat plant with a gene that allows it to use less water to grow, and so become more desirable for dryer climates likeAustralian. good for the farmers but could be bad for the public who will eat them


Labelling GM Foods

Health Ministers on the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council (ANZFSC) resolved in July 2000 to require labelling of GM foods where novel DNA and/or protein is present in the final food and where the food has altered characteristics.

The Ministers resolved that the following would be exempt from these requirements:

  • highly refined food where the effect of the refining process is to remove novel DNA and/or protein
  • processing aids and food additives except those where novel DNA and/or protein is present in the final food
  • flavours which are present in a concentration less than or equal to 0. 1% in the final food
  • food prepared at the point of sale

The Govts also resolved to exempt ingredients from GM labelling where they contain up to 1% of GM material - but only where its presence is unintended. All these resolutions became law in December 2001.However the USA, FDA do not label their foods coming out of the USA so beware of this should one eat any food products from the USA. It is up to you???

The European Union and Japan have already closed their doors to GE crops.

But why won't other countries follow.

Monsanto MON863 Corn

MON 863 corn was produced to control infestation of corn with corn root-worm. The corn is genetically engineered to be resistant to the corn root-worm, which can cause significant damage to the crop. FSANZ approved the corn for use in Australia and New Zealand in October 2003 after conducting a comprehensive pre-market safety assessment of food derived from MON863 corn as required by Standard 1.5.2 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. More information on MON 863 corn can be found in this factsheet


New Zealand: GM crop trials. The NZ Government is going ahead

Most people are unaware that they are already eating genetically engineered contaminants, researcher Dr Victoria Metcalf says. The geneticist at the University of Canterbury said health watchdog Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), has made it nearly impossible to avoid genetically modified (GM) foods in New Zealand. The New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food Research, an independent Government-owned company, has applied to the Environmental Risk Management Authority for a field trial on genetically engineered brassicas – cauliflowers, broccoli, cabbage and kale.

The trials would be run in the South Island over 10 years, but experts say these crops could affect human and animal health, sustainability of farming, and damage export opportunities.The GE brassicas would have resistance to insects from genes derived from Bacillus thuringensis (Bt), which has long been used as an anti-insecticide field spray by farmers. GE Bt threatens not only caterpillars and butterflies, but human, animal and crop health, experts say.GM-Free New Zealand president Claire Bleakley said these crops can not be grown without contaminating other crops, and some animals have died following exposure to Bt foods. Adverse effects have also been observed "in people handling and living near Bt crops", she added.

In an address to Dunedin farming consultants in 2005, former Food & Crop researcher, Elvira Dommisse, said plants genetically engineered with Bt are up to 100 times more toxic than the bacterium.A line of GM corn engineered with bt insecticide, LON 863, is approved by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and FSANZ for consumption, despite a 90-day trial by French researchers in 2005 that showed significant liver and kidney toxicity and other abnormalities in rats, she said.

Warning from the US

Dr Steinbrecher noted in GM Watch that millions of honey bees in the US have disappeared over the last half year and there was evidence that insect resistant crops producing the Bt toxin were to blame. He said this was a great concern because these bees were responsible for pollenating many crops and indirectly generate an estimated $US14 billion a year for the economy, he said.

Australia keeps options open

Agriculture and Food Minister for Western Australia, Kim Chance, has recommended their GM moratorium continue until more is known about GM crops.Australia was taking the time to understand the effect of GM crops and leave options open.



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