NOTE: Some very useful points and links to research here in response to the recent claim by the European Food Safety Authority that there's no evidence GM feed is harmful.
Comment by GM-free Ireland
In reality there is growing scientific evidence linking GM animal feed and food to deaths and disease in laboratory animals, livestock and the human population. Speaking at the launch of his book 'Genetic Roulette: the documented health risks of GM food" in Dublin recently, the author Jeffrey M. Smith described the evidence of health risks as 'irrefutable", including new diseases, allergies, inflammatory responses, antibiotic resistance, reduced immunity, and pre-cancerous growths. There is also evidence that transgenic DNA in food can survive digestion and activate inside your body; if such DNA came from the many varieties of Bt crops which are modified to produce their own pesticide, this could potentially turn you into a living pesticide factory. A leaked European Commission document admits, 'there is no unique, absolute, scientific cut-off threshold available to decide whether a GM product is safe or not".
But the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) claims GM animal feed and GM foods are safe, although it is being challenged for routinely approving such products based on risk assessments provided to it by the companies it is paid to regulate, for not making the relevant data available for independent scientific scrutiny, and for failing to address the concerns of member states. In April 2006, the European Commission issued a statement calling for better test protocols and more research into the long-term effects of GMOs. The European Council has also repeatedly voiced concerns about EFSAÃs work. EFSAÃs recommendations on GMOs have never achieved formal backing by the required two-thirds majority of EU member states. No long-term human health studies prove GM foods are safe, and a recent study found that one variety of GM animal feed widely sold to Irish farmers causes liver and kidney damage to laboratory animals.
On 15 June, the GM-free Ireland Network and the European Parliament Independence/Democracy Group co-hosted a briefing entitled 'Food Safety and GMOs: is the European Food Safety Authority downplaying the health risks of genetically modified food?" at the EU Parliament Office in Dublin. Speakers included Trevor Sargent, 'Genetic Roulette" author Jeffrey M. Smith, Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher PhD of EcoNexus, (who is part of the legal and scientific team which recently convinced the European Patent Office to revoke Monsanto's species-wide patent on GM soybeans).
For more information see:
*Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods, by Jeffrey M. Smith. Yes! Books. Fairfield, Iowa, USA, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9729665-2-8. Hardcover, 336 pages, [Euros] 23. Available at the Cultivate Centre, 15-19 Essex St. West, Temple Bar, Dublin 8, tel (01) 674 6415.
*New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity, Journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. Publisher Springer New York. ISSN 0090-4341 (Print) 1432-0703 (Online). DOI 10.1007/s00244-006-0149-5. By Gilles-Eric Seralini, Dominique Cellier, and Joel Spiroux de Vendomois. http://www.gmfreeireland.org/health/SeraliniPaper2007.pdf
See related CRIIGEN press release at
and video of related press conference at http://www.criigen.org
*Genome Scrambling - Myth or Reality? Transformation-Induced Mutations in Transgenic Crop Plants. By Allison Wilson, PhD, Jonathan Latham, PhD and Ricarda Steinbrecher, PhD. Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews, Vol 23, December 2006. http://www.gmfreeireland.org/health/BSR-2-BGERvol23.pdf
*The transcripts of two presentations given at the Green Ireland Conference in 2006, by Dr. Stanley Ewen, a Consultant Histopathologist with Grampian University Hospitals Trust in the UK. He is also a member of the Independent Science Panel (www.indsp.org), an international transdisciplinary network of scientists working for the public good. He and Dr. Arpad Pusztai coauthored a landmark paper on the health risks of GM food published in The Lancet in 1998:
Potential adverse human health effects of GM foods: http://www.gmfreeireland.org/conference/S.Ewen1.pdf
3 Key papers on GMOs in the last 6 months: http://www.gmfreeireland.org/conference/S.Ewen2.pdf