Australia gov seeks public comment on legalizing raw milk products and GMOs

By Rady Ananda

Australia’s food standards authority seeks public comment on a report considering raw milk products in Australia, and food derived from a genetically modified soybean made by Bayer CropScience.

The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) also recently approved a GM corn made by Dow AgroSciences (DAS-40278-9).  This GM corn is resistant to 2,4-D, half of Agent Orange, which is responsible for decades of birth defects in Vietnam.

The approval is not final yet, as the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council has 60 days from date of notice to ask FSANZ to review the application or inform FSANZ that it does not intend to request a review.

FSANZ is also considering allowing raw milk (non-pasteurised) products to be sold in Australia, under Proposal 1007.

“The assessment of these products looked at what production and processing measures and product characteristics are needed to provide a high level of safety for consumers,” FSANZ CEO Steve McCutcheon said.

“In its second assessment report, FSANZ is seeking comment on its recommendation to permit non-pasteurised hard to very hard cooked curd cheeses. This will involve changes to the Food Standards Code relating to storage time and moisture content requirements.”

McCutcheon said FSANZ would continue to look at permitting other raw milk cheeses through a new proposal that will use technical work already completed through P1007.

“Other raw milk cheeses are being considered separately because a wider range of processing measures and product characteristics need to be considered.

“The assessment work for P1007 concluded that raw drinking milk presents too high a risk to consider any permission in the Code. In the new proposal, FSANZ will also be reviewing the current exemption that allows raw goat milk.”

FSANZ is framing the regulatory evaluation of raw milk products based on the ability of processing to remove pathogens (which is the antithesis of raw milk, since, by definition, it is not processed):

You can read more details about these categories here.

FSANZ also seeks comment on Application A1051, which seeks permission for food derived from a genetically modified soybean (Bayer’s FG72) with a tolerance to the herbicides glyphosate and isoxaflutole, the news release said.

Bayer uses glyphosate in its Indaziflam products, marketed as Alion, Becano, and Specticle, but only in one particular formulation (SC 420).  Isoxaflutole is a broad-spectrum herbicide marketed by Bayer under the names Adengo, Balance, Boreal, Corvus, Lagon, Merlin, and Provence.

Monsanto’s formulation of glyphosate has been implicated in spontaneous abortion in cattle, birth defects in humans, as well as cancer, asthma, and other health problems.  A group of international scientists released a report last year detailing health and environmental hazards from the cultivation of GM soy and the use of glyphosate (Roundup) herbicide.

GM crops have also been linked to higher pesticide use resulting in a natural immunity developing in weeds (causing massive superweed problems) and immunity in insects, as well, threatening 65% of US corn production (the amount that is genetically modified).

Submissions must be made in writing and should clearly be marked with the word ‘Submission’ and quote the correct project number and name. While FSANZ accepts submissions in hard copy to our offices, it is more convenient and quicker to receive submissions electronically through the FSANZ website using the Standards Development tab and then through Documents for Public Comment.

Alternatively, you may email your submission directly to the Standards Management Officer at submissions@foodstandards.gov.au. There is no need to send a hard copy of your submission if you have submitted it by email or the FSANZ website. FSANZ endeavours to formally acknowledge receipt of submissions within 3 business days.

DEADLINE FOR PUBLIC SUBMISSIONS:
6pm (Canberra time) 14 October 2011

SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED AFTER THIS DEADLINE
WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED

Submissions received after this date will only be considered if agreement for an extension has been given prior to this closing date. Agreement to an extension of time will only be given if extraordinary circumstances warrant an extension to the submission period. Any agreed extension will be notified on the FSANZ website and will apply to all submitters.

Questions relating to making submissions or the application process can be directed to the Standards Management Officer at standards.management@foodstandards.gov.au.

If you are unable to submit your submission electronically, hard copy submissions may be sent to one of the following addresses:

Food Standards Australia New Zealand
PO Box 7186
Canberra BC ACT 2610
AUSTRALIA
Tel (02) 6271 2222

Food Standards Australia New Zealand
PO Box 10559
The Terrace WELLINGTON 6143
NEW ZEALAND
Tel (04) 978 5636

More information:

Also see: Gene security breached in Australia; farmer sues over GMO contamination
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