Light wanted on glyphosate

SANDIE FINNIE
Last updated 16:18 04/06/2013

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A Matamata veterinarian is trying to shed light on why Monsanto patented herbicide glyphosate as an antibiotic in 2011, because its status as a drug (DAS66604) has been under the radar for several years.

Frank Rowson has been speaking to farmers in his region because he wants them to fully understand the implications of glyphosate as an antibiotic - by its very nature it kills good and bad bacteria in soil, plants and animals.

Dr Rowson has also challenged Food Safety Minister Nikki Kay on the dangers to human and livestock health of GM/glyphosate. In a letter to the minister, he questioned her about the level of testing of glyphosate as a drug and its potential to cause antibiotic resistance.

He said in light of the problems that farmers, vets and the general public have with controlling antibiotic residues and antibiotic resistance, FSANZ or some organisation should have been testing for these.

FSANZ, the Ministry of Food Safety and Ministry for Primary Industries are involved in the regulation of these products and ensuring the health and safety of the environment, animals and humans.

He said the risks to animals associated with residues from herbicides in food sources were not being properly studied by the regulators and in some cases ignored, in particular the antibiotic nature of glyphosates.

Further, he queried whether more stringent testing should have been done in the past as the former MAF /MPI would have been aware glyphosate was patented as an antibiotic in 2011.

To the background of MPI's approval for a consignment of GE soy to be imported, and his concerns, Dr Rowson asked the minister if she would instruct FSANZ to revisit the application for the certification of glyphosate because it was a drug and should be tested as such. Research showed glyphosate's toxicity to soils, plants animals and humans and the environment at levels much less than the recommended level of use, some of which has been known for years.

Dr Rowson also asked the minister if she was aware of evidence of both GM/glyphosate causing disease from soil all along the food chain, and if it would warrant strict sampling to safeguard the health and safety of NZ Inc.

There appeared to be no monitoring of the level of GE and the levels of glyphosate in imported GM supplements.

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- Straight Furrow

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