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CSIRO & GENETICALLY MODIFIED WHEAT TRIALS

Details of CSIRO modified

wheat trial to stay secret

BY BIANCA HALL
04 Jul, 2011 06:44 AM
Australia’s peak science body has refused to issue details about its plans to conduct human trials of genetically modified wheat in the ACT.The territory is home to a 1ha crop of genetically modified wheat planted and maintained under a CSIRO project backed by multinational GM industry groups.

In 2009, the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator approved the CSIRO’s bid to plant three lines of wheat, which have been genetically modified to alter their grain starch composition, on a limited scale and under controlled conditions.

According to the project’s timelines, issued in 2009, the CSIRO will this year conduct human trials of the GM wheat grown in the ACT, after first testing it on rats and pigs.

Greenpeace says if the research is successful, genetically modified bread could be on supermarket shelves by 2015.

In May, it lodged a bid with the CSIRO for all documents relating to nutritional testing the science body had conducted, or intended to conduct, on pigs, rats or humans on foods produced by genetically modified organisms.

Last week, the CSIRO’s freedom of information officer rejected the bid, saying she had identified 1042 documents relating to the request.

The officer estimated it would take one person 539 hours to process them, which was an ”unreasonable” diversion of resources and not in the public interest.

She suggested Greenpeace remove from its request ”documents that related to a project CSIRO was undertaking on a commercial footing”.

Greenpeace wrote back to the agency saying, ”the risks associated with commercial trialling of genetically modified wheat, and the subsequent world-first nutritional testing of GM wheat on human subjects, are of paramount public interest, and have potentially serious consequences for public health”.

This Thursday, Greenpeace will issue a report detailing a scathing assessment of the trial program, and labelling the partnership between the CSIRO and international GM companies ”clear potential conflict of interest”.

July 5th, 2011
Topic: GM & RADIATION, GRASSES LEGUMES, PLANTS CROPS WEEDS, TREATMENTS Tags: , , , , ,

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