By Frank Rowson

How much longer do the public have to tolerate the inefficiencies and dereliction of duty shown recently by the Ministry of Primary Industry (MPI) in the kauri log scenario?

On its own this failure could perhaps be tolerated, but when it is in addition to a whole range of failures, particularly in regard to food safety, we must say enough is enough. MPI is not the only agency that is at fault, as FSANZ, Environmental Protection Authority, and its predecessor ERMA, are also responsible.

The list of failures includes:-
1. the botulism scare which failed to test to modern standards and to understand that with regards to glyphosate based herbicides (GBHs) (Roundup, WeedMasterTS540) – science has shown that the more GBH there is in the system, the more pathogenic organisms like Clostridium botulinum, Salmonella, Pseudomonas ( think PSA in kiwifruit) will cause problems.
2. Failure of the MPI to recognise that glyphosate is a broad spectrum antibiotic (its patent number is 7,771,736 granted in August 2010 by USA FDA). Published studies detail its involvement in the huge problem of antibiotic resistance and disruption of the micro-organisms in the gut, the cause of many chronic diseases.
3. By failing to keep abreast of import regulations big losses have been seen in meat and infant formula exports and confidence in the quality of our product has declined. Sales of NZ infant formula in China have dropped 16.2% in the first four months of this year, replaced by imports from Europe (which follows safer regulatory regimes).
4. The continued failure to monitor residues of GBHs in the Total Diet Survey, National Pesticides in Groundwater Survey and National Chemical Contamination Programme. Studies of GBHs increasingly link the toxins to illness including autism, allergies, asthma, Alzheimers, irritable bowel syndrome and associated complications in humans; and in livestock – abortions, infertility, botulism and fungal contamination.

This has allowed chemical companies to make unsubstantiated safety claims providing farmers with a false sense of security and the increased use of GBHs in farming practices. The potential for increased residues in food is coming to light despite the failure of MPI, EPA and FSANZ to recognize the dangers and monitor the levels or remove GBHs and GE foods from the market until they have been found to be safe.

5. Recent events have demonstrated the lack of modern testing methods investigating the role of systemic cumulative toxicity of pesticides and GBHs. In the case of the Southland cow deaths, investigation has stagnated because of this lack of rigor; in the meantime cows continue to die.

There is also the failure to widen the scope of the investigation to include the effects of the unintended effects of the chemically mutated swedes (considered by scientists as just as risky as GMOs), the effects of GBHs in the cropping systems and the effects of combinations of pesticides on the animals. On its own GBHs will cause the symptoms that are reported and increase the toxicity of the glucosinolates and Telar herbicide which is banned in China (who authorised the use of this product without adequate animal safety tests?).

6. Underlying all this is the refusal of all agencies to abide by the Precautionary Principle; if they had done so none of these products would be on the market and our major industry would not be facing the existing and future threats.

Farmers and public alike should demand that MPI, EPA and FSANZ remove GBHs and GE feeds and swedes from the environment in order to safeguard the health and safety of the nation; that is what they are there for.

Is it not ironic that at this time when farming is going through these difficult times their own Federated Farmers are actively involved in trying to remove the extra barrier and relax its stance on GMOs? Shame on them. It is time their rank and file stood up and put a stop to their president’s misguided efforts.

Surely it is now the time to ask the Auditor General to investigate these failures.
Frank Rowson, of  Matamata, is a retired veterinary surgeon


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