Independent/UK, May 22, 2005
Title: Revealed: “Health Fears Over Secret Study in GM Food”
Author: Geoffrey Lean
Organic Consumers Association website, June 2,2005
Title: “Monsanto’s GE Corn Experiments on Rats Continue to Generate Global Controversy”
Authors: GM Free Cymru
Independent/UK, January 8, 2006
Title: GM: New Study Shows Unborn Babies Could Be Harmed”
Author: Geoffrey Lean
Le Monde and Truthout, February 9, 2006
Title: “New Suspicions About GMOs”
Author: Herve Kempf
Faculty Evaluator: Michael Ezra
Student Researchers: Destiny Stone and Lani Ready
Several recent studies confirm fears that genetically modified (GM) foods damage human health. These studies were released as the World Trade Organization (WTO) moved toward upholding the ruling that the European Union has violated international trade rules by stopping importation of GM foods.
Research by the Russian Academy of Sciences released in December 2005 found that more than half of the offspring of rats fed GM soy died within the first three weeks of life, six times as many as those born to mothers fed on non-modified soy. Six times as many offspring fed GM soy were also severely underweight.
In November 2005, a private research institute in Australia, CSIRO Plant Industry, put a halt to further development of a GM pea cultivator when it was found to cause an immune response in laboratory mice.1
In the summer of 2005, an Italian research team led by a cellular biologist at the University of Urbino published confirmation that absorption of GM soy by mice causes development of misshapen liver cells, as well as other cellular anomalies.
In May of 2005 the review of a highly confidential and controversial Monsanto report on test results of corn modified with Monsanto MON863 was published in The Independent/UK.
Dr. Arpad Pusztai (see Censored 2001, Story #7), one of the few genuinely independent scientists specializing in plant genetics and animal feeding studies, was asked by the German authorities in the autumn of 2004 to examine Monsanto’s 1,139-page report on the feeding of MON863 to laboratory rats over a ninety-day period.
The study found “statistically significant” differences in kidney weights and certain blood parameters in the rats fed the GM corn as compared with the control groups. A number of scientists across Europe who saw the study (and heavily-censored summaries of it) expressed concerns about the health and safety implications if MON863 should ever enter the food chain. There was particular concern in France, where Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen has been trying (without success) for almost eighteen months to obtain full disclosure of all documents relating to the MON863 study.
Dr. Pusztai was forced by the German authorities to sign a “declaration of secrecy” before he was allowed to see the Monsanto rat feeding study, on the grounds that the document is classified as “CBI” or “confidential business interest.” While Pusztai is still bound by the declaration of secrecy, Monsanto recently declared that it does not object to the widespread dissemination of the “Pusztai Report.”2
Monsanto GM soy and corn are widely consumed by Americans at a time when the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has concluded, “In several cases, GMOs have been put on the market when safety issues are not clear.”
As GMO research is not encouraged by U.S. or European governments, the vast majority of toxicological studies are conducted by those companies producing and promoting consumption of GMOs. With motive and authenticity of results suspect in corporate testing, independent scientific research into the effects of GM foods is attracting increasing attention.
Comment: In May 2006 the WTO upheld a ruling that European countries broke international trade rules by stopping importation of GM foods. The WTO verdict found that the EU has had an effective ban on biotech foods since 1998 and sided with the U.S., Canada, and Argentina in a decision that the moratorium was illegal under WTO rules.3
1. “GM peas cause immune response–A gap in the approval process?” http://www.GMO-Compass.org, January 3, 2006.
2. Arpad Pusztai, “Mon863-Pusztai Report,” http://www.GMWatch.org, September 12, 2004.
3. Bradley S. Clapper, “WTO Faults EU for Blocking Modified Food,” Associated Press, May 11, 2006.