Still wondering if GMO foods are safe? A shocking new UK study is one of the first long-term inquires into the safety of consuming genetically modified foods (GMO) with startling results.
The study found consuming even the smallest amounts (reported as “safe” by Monsanto scientists) of Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller (sprayed on GMO food plants), or the NK603 Roundup-resistant GM maize (corn) also developed by Monsanto, resulted in the development of mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage in rats.
“This research shows an extraordinary number of tumours developing earlier and more aggressively – particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts,” said Dr Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist at King’s College London, and a member of CRIIGEN, the independent scientific council which supported the research.
A French study found similar outcomes. “Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues said rats fed on a diet containing NK603 – a seed variety from crop giant Monsanto made tolerant to dousings of the bestselling weedkiller Roundup – or given water containing Roundup at levels permitted in the United States died earlier than those on a standard diet.The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. ‘
Monsanto discounts these, and other non-Monsanto-sponsored studies, saying, they don’t need to test GMO foods for safety as “Aspects of the GM crop which are the same as the non-GM counterpart do not require safety assessment,” (meaning all the non-DNA-altered parts of the resulting GMO plant) and “There is no need to test the safety of DNA introduced into GM crops. DNA (and resulting RNA) is present in almost all foods–the only exceptions being highly refined materials like oil or sugar from which all cell material has been removed. Thus, DNA is non-toxic and the presence of DNA, in and of itself, presents no hazard.”
So, since an un-DNA-altered plant is assumed to be safe, we are not going to determine if un-naturally introducing the DNA of a pig, or a salmon, or a frog into a corn plant changes the nutritional safety of that plant. And the next argument is that since DNA is the building block of all things, and all Monsanto is doing is altering the plant DNA by inserting animal, viral, or other DNA into it, there is no need to test for safety in that case, either.
Confusingly, Monsanto follows this statement with an acknowledgment that “When a new protein (not normally found in that plant or in other commonly consumed foods) is introduced into a plant, the safety of that protein does need to be addressed,” but goes on to insist, “There is no need for, or value in testing the safety of GM foods in humans,” since testing would require giving humans large amounts of GMO foods such as they do with rats, in the studies above.
More and more independent organizations are producing studies that call the safety of consuming GMO foods into serious doubt. The Institute for Responsible Technology produced a documentary on the subject, saying, “After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.”
Earlier studies showed that the GMO DNA does not break down in our digestive tract as well as previously thought, and actually alters the DNA of friendly bacteria in the intestines. In addition, GMO foods are having a negative impact on growers and consumers financially.
GMO foods have been accused of creating “super-weeds” that are themselves now resistant to herbicides. In addition, farmers who choose not to purchase Monsanto seeds but farm near to those that do use GMO, have been successfully sued by Monsanto after natural pollination, via the wind, animal droppings, or insects, caused GMO plants to grow on organic or otherwise non-Monsanto farms.
While the debate rages on, it seems only prudent, and in both the consumer’s and Monsanto’s best interest, to continue independent studies to determine the safety of consuming GMO foods and animals fed GMO foods. Until then, those concerned with the safety of GMO products have only one recourse: buy and/or grow certified organic foods which cannot be grown from, or exposed to, GMO seeds, or non-organic approved pesticides and herbicides. For more information on certified organic foods, visit the University of Minnesota Extension site.