PO Box 13402
Wellington, New Zealand

GE-Free New Zealand

in food and environment (RAGE Inc.)


Call to "Stop the Clock" on Approval of Genetically Engineered Bananas


image 12219e BananasFood Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is being asked to 'stop the clock' on approval of a new genetically modified (GM) Cavendish banana (A1274).

FSANZ is accepting public submissions on the GM banana which is modified to be resistant to Panama disease. Scientific analysis has identified seven new proteins in the GM banana.GE Free NZ's submission urgently requests FSANZ 'stop the clock' and pause the application until robust scientific safety testing is conducted.

“This application causes high concern because of a lack of information on food safety and what happens to the novel constructs and proteins after the banana is eaten fresh,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ “The information provided does not give the public confidence on the effective, transparent, and accountable regulatory framework assessment of FSANZ. There is gap in the data on possible effects of the GM banana on the young, elderly and on people taking medication that can alter the transition of the GE elements in the gut.”

FSANZ has told the public that these bananas are deemed to be as healthy as non-GM ones, but this is misleading as no evidence to show safety been provided to inform FSANZ experts or public submissions. FSANZ has not required or been able to assess scientific data on the GM banana effects if eaten. Until this is done the GM bananas are an unknown risk and should not be rubber-stamped as approved for sale.

The GM banana cells have been modified with genes from a different species of banana and will contain a gene for expressing antibiotic resistance These genes are driven by the cauliflower mosaic virus promoter. Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a bacterial plant pathogen used to transfer the engineered gene into the banana cells. This process has caused genes to be differently assembled and to contain 7 new and unexpected proteins that have not been assessed for safety.

Studies have not been conducted to provide evidence about the effects of survival of the GM constructs through the digestive system which could cause inflammatory gut response and enter into bloodstream of consumers.

“The absence of this information represents a safety risk for consumers” said Bleakley. “Studies have shown that transgenes do affect the digestive system as well as the organs of animals that eat them. FSANZ must “stop the clock” and require and conduct safety studies to assure the public these GM bananas are safe to eat.”

We ask everyone who is able to make a submission to FSANZ.

Submissions are open until 5pm 6 November and more information can be found at https://www.gefree.org.nz/action-templates/


· There is no analysis of seven new unidentified proteins in the GM banana and no research on the implications of these proteins for food safety when the banana is eaten

· There is no safety evidence to show the GM banana will be safe for vulnerable people: infants, children, the sick or elderly.

· There is no safety evidence to show it will be safe for people who are on medications which change how the body reacts.

· There are no diagnostic tests for health professional to rule out any health effects from eating the GM banana.


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Claire Bleakley – president 027 348 6731

Jon Carapiet – spokesman 0210507681