FOEA Emerging tech Project

Nanomaterials in food packaging: FSANZ fails consumers again

A recent Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) survey of packaging manufacturers and the food industry reveals that FSANZ is failing to protect consumers from the risks associated with the use of nanomaterials in food packaging. Nanomaterials are being increasingly used in food packaging – posing potential health risks – and yet to date FSANZ has taken no action to ensure these products are safe. FSANZ’s own summary of the...

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194 countries call for the regulation of synthetic biology

In a unanimous decision of 194 countries, the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has formally urged nation states to regulate synthetic biology (synbio). The landmark decision follows ten days of hard-fought negotiations between developing countries and a small group of wealthy biotech-friendly economies. Until now, synthetic organisms have been developed and commercialised without international regulations and...

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Throwing precaution to the wind: the government’s attempts to thwart the regulation of synthetic biology

Since it was first proposed that synthetic biology be looked at as a new and emerging issue under the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD), the Australian Government − under both the ALP and the Coalition − has consistently attempted to destroy any prospect of international regulations governing this new and potentially dangerous technology. Doubtless their behaviour at the current Convention meeting (COP12) in South Korea will be no...

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APVMA fails to address risks of nanomaterial use in agriculture

As the Australian Pest and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA) attempts to grapple with the issue of nanomaterials in agricultural chemicals, Friends of the Earth have warned that unregulated nanomaterials are already being used in agriculture in Australia – posing unacceptable risks. Recently the APVMA released a discussion paper on regulatory options regarding the use of nanomaterials in agricultural chemicals. The paper identified...

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Australia must support a precautionary approach to synbio at COP12

As global governments meet to discuss synthetic biology (synbio) at the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting (COP12) in South Korea, Friends of the Earth is calling for a moratorium on the commercial release of synthetically modified organisms (SMOs) until a legally binding international framework for synbio is developed and implemented. Synbio is an extreme version of genetic engineering. Instead of swapping genes from one species to...

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