GM Food Nightmare Looms from Lack of Regulatory Control

CCPA Monitor, July/August 2007 | Go to article overview

GM Food Nightmare Looms from Lack of Regulatory Control


IGNORING THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE:

Regulatory agencies like the European Food Safety Authority and the UK Food Standards Agency [and Health Canada] have been ignoring the precautionary principle, manipulating and corrupting science, sidestepping the law, and helping to promote genetically modified food, in the face of massive public opposition and damning evidence piling up against the safety of GM food and feed.

These charges are made in a devastating report released recently by the Institute of Science in Society. The report has been submitted to the European Food Standards Agency, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the UK Food Standards Agency, and it has been accepted for publication in a peerreviewed scientific journal.

The 19-page report contains more than 130 references. It draws together evidence from all over the world indicating that GM food and feed may be inherently hazardous to health, regardless of the plant species or the genetic modification involved. For example,

* female rats fed Roundup Ready soybeans gave birth to many severely stunted pups, with over half of the litter dead by three weeks, and the surviving pups were sterile;

* Roundup Ready soya has been approved worldwide for food and feed since 1996;

* farmers and workers exposed to Bt cotton and Bt maize have suffered serious allergy-like symptoms; and

* livestock feeding on Bt crops and crop residues became ill and died in large numbers.

"The evidence has stacked up to such an extent that our regulators should be answering a charge of criminal negligence, at the very least, in failing to ban GM crops and continuing with their campaign of denial and disinformation, and worse, helping to promote even more dangerous GM produce from the industry," said Dr. Mae-Wan Ho. Dr Ho is the director of ISIS and lead author of the report co-authored with Joe Cummins, emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and Peter Saunders, emeritus Professor of Mathematics at King's College, London University.

That Bt toxins can cause serious immune reactions was known long before they were widely incorporated into maize and cotton crops. Similarly, evidence that pieces of genetically modified (GM) DNA canbe taken up and incorporated into the genomes of other cells-a process called horizontal gene transfer-has been steadily accumulating since the mid-1990s, when the ISIS scientists first sounded their warning to the regulators.

"GM DNAs often contain antibiotic resistance marker genes and other genes from bacteria and viruses that cause diseases. In addition, they have strong control signals-"promoters"- that force the cell to express a foreign gene at high levels," Dr. …

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GM Food Nightmare Looms from Lack of Regulatory Control
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