"Greenpeace has identified a weak point in the strategy of using Golden Rice for reducing vitamin A-deficiency" Ingo Potrykus, 10 Feb 2001
This press release was Steven Druker's reply to an ANZFA press release dated Wed 7th Feb. ANZFA's press relase was a rebuttal of Steven's claim that ANZFA's safety assessment of GE food is flawed.
The ANZFA press release can be found on their website www.ANZFA.gov.au
Apologies if you have already received this information.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FEBRUARY 12
"ANZFA STILL DOESN'T GET IT"
* U.S. ATTORNEY REFUTES ANZFA'S CLAIMS ABOUT ITS REGULATION OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS
* SHOWS MAJOR RISKS ARE BEING DISREGARDED
* REAFFIRMS THAT GENE-SPLICED PRODUCTS ARE SOLD IN AUSTRALIA AS A CONSEQUENCE OF U.S. GOVERNMENT FRAUD
U.S. public interest attorney Steven M. Druker today expressed regret that officials of the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) continue to misunderstand why their assessment of genetically engineered (GE) foods is scientifically inadequate -- and why the sale of these foods in Australia is a consequence of systematic fraud by the United States government.
The Pivotal Role of U.S. Government Fraud
"Unfortunately, ANZFA still doesn't get it," stated Mr. Druker. "It is well documented that the bureaucrats at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) covered up extensive warnings of their own scientific experts about the unique health hazards of GE foods and have persistently misrepresented the facts for nine years. It is also obvious that if the FDA had acknowledged these hazards and subjected GE foods to the rigorous testing its experts called for, none would yet be marketed in the U.S., nor would any other regulatory agency have approved them after the U.S. had not. Therefore, GE foods are on Australian dinner plates as a result of FDA deception."
Mr. Druker is the executive director of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, a U.S. public interest group, and is currently on an Australian speaking tour to alert the nation about the U.S. government's fraud and the extent to which public health here is being irresponsibly threatened by GE foods. The fraud was exposed when the FDA was compelled to divulge its files during a lawsuit Mr. Druker's organization brought against it. His comments were in response to an ANZFA press release alleging he did not realize the authority now conducted independent assessments of GE foods that did not rely on prior FDA actions.
"I am fully aware that ANZFA has finally instituted its own assessment procedures," Mr. Druker stated. "But Australians need to be aware (1) that most GE foods currently in their stores were allowed on the market before ANZFA conducted any assessments, (2) that ANZFA permitted this to happen because other regulatory bodies had already approved these foods, and (3) that no such approvals would have occurred if the FDA had not covered up the warnings of its own experts and lied about them."
ANZFA's Current Procedures Are Scientifically Unsound
Mr. Druker also emphasised that even though ANZFA now requires that all GE foods be assessed in order to remain on the market, the assessment is grossly deficient. "ANZFA completely ignores the potential of every GE food to cause harmful and unpredictable side effects. The FDA experts repeatedly warned about this unique hazard, and hundreds of other experts continue to warn about it. Yet, ANZFA pretends that it doesn't exist." Druker continued, "ANZFA's assessment rests on the assumption that if superficial analysis does not detect significant differences between a GE food and its conventional counterpart, the two are substantially equivalent in all other respects as well. The Royal Society of Canada has recently condemned this doctrine of 'substantial equivalence' as 'scientifically unjustifiable.'"
Druker to Meet With ANZFA Officials
Druker expressed optimism that the various misunderstandings could be resolved when he meets with both the general manager and chief scientist of ANZFA in Canberra on February 15th. "I am grateful these officials have agreed to meet with me, and I am hopeful the meeting will induce a healthy change in policy. Once these public servants understand the extent to which the approvals of GE foods have depended on systematic FDA fraud and the extent to which their own procedures conflict with the best scientific knowledge, they will obviously see the need for prompt remedial action. After all, the safety of the food supply is at stake."
Druker concluded, "No GE food should be on the market unless and until it has been demonstrated safe through long-term, rigorous tests that can screen for the full range of risks. Since none has successfully passed such tests, it is the duty of ANZFA to remove all of them from the market until they have. Anything less is an irresponsible compromise of public health."