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Furor in New Zealand over Monsanto Withholding Data on GE Corn Rat Feeding Study

GE corn rat-feeding data must be publicly released
Friday, 3 September 2004, 12:53 pm
Press Release: Green Party
3 September 2004

GE corn rat-feeding data must be publicly released

The Green Party today said FSANZ must demand, reanalyse and publicly
release the raw data of Monsanto's controversial MON863 rat-feeding study
and wants a full explanation as to why the company withheld the study when
it was seeking approval for the GE corn.

"We're delighted that our call yesterday has flushed out the fact that Food
Standards Australia New Zealand never saw this study when it approved MON863
last year," said Ms Fitzsimons, the Green Party's GE Spokesperson.

"It is essential FSANZ gets the original data that reportedly showed rats
fed with this GE corn developed abnormalities and get it independently
analysed. They must not simply accept Monsanto's own explanatory summary.
Independent analysis can be carried out by scientists from whatever position
in the GE debate, just as long as they are not employed by the GE food
industry.

"We also call on FSANZ to make the full data open to public scrutiny. If
people are going to have confidence in our food regulator they've got to
know nothing is secret and that anyone can look at the science on which
these decisions are made.

"We are disturbed at the laxity of the GE food approval process, not just by
FSANZ but by regulatory authorities around the world. It is scandalous that
companies are allowed to present selective evidence of safety testing - that
the companies' own studies are all that is required. This is a classic case
of 'regulator capture'.

The Greens' Safe Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said: "Monsanto's
with-holding of unfavourable data from FSANZ raises serious questions about
the integrity of the entire approval process. Monsanto must explain to
Australians and New Zealanders why they deliberately kept this information
to themselves and whether they have withheld any other such data from
similar applications. Are we to assume this is a regular practice?"

"I believe there should be a full public investigation of the GE food
assessment process and questions asked as to why companies are able to
provide selective and one-sided information about their products," said Ms
Kedgley.

Ms Fitzsimons: "We are also amazed that with much GE food testing the
substance fed to the laboratory animals is not the actual food the companies
are proposing to release for human consumption but some kind of substitute."

ENDS