1.Illegal US GM maize found in Japanese imports
2.New Discovery of Illegal Bt10 in Corn Shipments


The Japanese are already reassessing taking canola from Canada because of the GM contamination around Japanese ports.

1.Illegal US GM maize found in Japanese imports
As international talks on the safety of GM crops reach crucial stage
Friends of the Earth Press Release
Immediate release: Thursday 2 June 2005

Unapproved genetically modified (GM) maize, originating from the United States, has been found in shipments arriving in Japan, according to reports [1]. The contamination incident comes as key United Nations negotiations in Montreal, Canada, reach a crucial point in agreeing regulations for a safe trade in GM foods and crops.

Japanese officials said that a shipment of corn from the US was found to be contaminated by an illegal experimental GM maize, called Bt10. The Swiss-based biotech company, Syngenta, admitted in March that it had mistakenly sold the wrong maize to farmers in the US for the last four years [2]. The EU introduced emergency measures to stop shipments of contaminated corn-based animal feeds in April and last week a contaminated shipment was detected and blocked in Ireland [3].

Japan, the biggest importer of US maize, said that they will now test every shipment for illegal contamination. Trade sources claimed that the shipment is likely to be sent back to the US, at Syngenta's expense.

In Montreal, UN negotiations on the Biosafety Protocol [4], are discussing the issue of the export of GM crops that are not licensed in the importing country. The talks are at a critical stage with a small number of countries - New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico and Peru - holding up progress that would reduce contamination from GM crops. An agreement is expected in the next 24 hours, despite the huge lobbying by the GM industry for weaker rules.

Friends of the Earth's GM Campaigner Clare Oxborrow said: "The biotech industry clearly needs to be brought under control. Every new contamination incident highlights the urgent need for strong international laws. Unless we have strict controls then the contamination of our foods will continue and our environment will be put at risk. The Biosafety Protocol negotiations taking place in Montreal are key to solving these problems."

On Monday, Friends of the Earth International released a report showing that tougher measures are needed to prevent contamination from GM crops [5].




[4] For more information on Biosafety Protocol and the "Second meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety" go to the official UN website:

[5] The report, Tackling GMO contamination can be found here:

2.New Discovery of Illegal Bt10 in Corn Shipments
Thursday, 2 June 2005
Press Release: GE Free NZ

Despite claims by Health Minister Annette King that illegal Bt10 corn is no longer being exported out of the US, in May a shipment of corn to Ireland has been intercepted and found to contain Bt 10 . This is some six months after Bt10 was supposedly removed from the food chain and contradicts the basis for Ms King's reassurance in Parliament than no Bt10 is entering New Zealand and no testing of shipments needs to be done.

In Feburary Syngenta advised the world -including FSANZ -that the food chain had been contaminated by an illegal strain of GE corn Bt 10, hushed up over the years 2001-2004. The world was assured that all corn had been removed from the chain. However this has proven to be false.

Bt10 Corn is not approved for human or animal use and is known to contain the ampicillin resistance gene. "Antibiotic resistance is becoming a major threat to treatment of disease in New Zealand" says Claire Bleakley from GE Free NZ in food and environment. "It is frightening to think that authorties are doing nothing to ensure the food we buy will not be further contributing to this problem."

There are also growing fears that Bt10 corn might have the same negative effects as GE MON 863 corn tested on rats. Some of the key points identified by Dr Pusztai are detailed below.

"It is imperative that FSANZ and NZFSA test for Bt 10 corn products in foods they know are likely to be genetically modified. This corn is still entering the food chain," says Claire. "It is unbelievable for the Minister of Health to ignore the situation and deny there is any importation when no tests are done. Overseas testing is confirming BT10 is still out there".