EXTRACT: Companies aim to maximise profit for shareholders. Any safety requirements are secondary concerns. In a democracy, we... expect our elected officials to take care of these concerns on our behalf. But how can they when governments and regulatory bodies have virtually become mouthpieces of private vested interests, in this case agribusiness?
Deadly GM Food
Colin Todhunter, Deccan Herald, December 26 2012
Global agriculture has undergone more changes during the last 60 or so years than it did during the preceding 12,000 years. If chemical-intensive agriculture represented the first wave of the so-called "Green Revolution", genetically modified organisms (GMOs) comprise its second coming.
A new study published in the September edition of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology is the most damning indictment of GMOs carried out so far. Led by Gilles-Eric Seralini, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Caen in France, the research analysed the health effects of GMOs on rats.
Females rats fed GMOs died two to three times more than controls (groups of rates not fed GMOs) and more rapidly. They developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than the controls. Liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5 to five times higher in males that were fed GMOs. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented four times more large palpable tumors than controls.
By the beginning of the 24th month of the study, 50–80 per cent of GMO-fed female animals had developed tumors, with up to three tumors per animal, whereas only 30 per cent of non GMO-fed rats were affected. The GMO-fed groups showed the greatest rates of tumor incidence with 80 per cent of animals affected.
Such results had not yet become evident in the first 90 days, the length of most all agribusiness industry tests to date - perhaps why the industry has avoided longer tests. As rats are mammals, their systems should react to chemicals, in this case GMO corn treated with Monsanto Roundup chemical herbicide, in a similar way to those of a human test subject.
Seralini’s was the first long-term independent study of the effects of a GMO diet on rats. It took place 20 years after US president George H W Bush gave the commercial release of GMO seeds the green light. Writer William F Engdahl notes that Bush did so following a closed-door meeting with top officials of Monsanto Corporation. GMO seeds were permitted in the US with not one single independent government test to determine if they were safe for human or animal consumption.
In Europe, the Seralini study has exposed that, as in the US, the EU controls on GMO constitute nothing other than accepting at face value the test results provided by the GMO companies themselves. It smacks of collusion between the GMO agrichemical cartel, EU commissioners, the GMO panel members of European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and several member governments of the EU.
The EFSA recommended approval of Monsanto’s Roundup-tolerant maize in 2009 without conducting any independent testing. In making its decision, the EFSA partly relied on information supplied by the applicant (Monsanto) - tests on rats that were for only 90 days.
Seralini’s study noted that the massive toxic effects and deaths of GMO-fed rats took place well after 90 days. Three years after the commercial introduction of Monsanto GMO maize in the EU, Seralini’s study shows Monsanto’s GMO maize demonstrably causes severe rates of cancerous tumors and early death in rats.
Engdahl argues that because of US government arm-twisting and due to the power of the GMO agribusiness lobby in the US and EU, no regulatory authority in the world had requested mandatory chronic animal feeding studies to be performed for edible GMOs and formulated pesticides.
In the wake of the Seralini study, Engdahl states the EFSA’s refusal to re-examine its earlier decision to approve Monsanto GMO maize suggests the EFSA is controlled by the GMO agribusiness lobby. It is thus worth considering that over half of the scientists involved in the GMO panel which positively reviewed the Monsanto’s study for GMO maize in 2009, leading to its EU-wide authorisation, had links with the biotech industry.
Scientist Harry Kuiper, chair of the EFSA GMO panel has led the panel since 2003, during which time EFSA went from no GMO approvals to 38 GMO seeds approved for human consumption. The criteria for approval were developed by Kuiper in cooperation with the GMO industry and the Washington-based International Life Sciences Institute. The board of this institute in 2011 was comprised of senior people from Monsanto, ADM (one of the world’s biggest purveyors of GMO soybeans and corn), Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods (major proponent of GMO in foods) and Nestle, another giant GMO food industry user.
It therefore comes as no surprise that the EFSA has condemned the Seralini study with vague accusations. It is typical. With threats of lawsuits and UK government pressure, some years ago top research scientist Dr Arpad Pusztai was effectively silenced over his research concerning the dangers of GM food. A campaign was set in motion to destroy his reputation. Similarly, a WikiLeaks cable highlighted how GMOs were being forced into European nations by the US ambassador to France who plotted with other US officials to create a ‘retaliatory target list’ of anyone who tried to regulate GMOs. Companies aim to maximise profit for shareholders. Any safety requirements are secondary concerns. In a democracy, we thus expect our elected officials to take care of these concerns on our behalf.
But how can they when governments and regulatory bodies have virtually become mouthpieces of private vested interests, in this case agribusiness?
Given the stranglehold of this sector on the US government, how long before GM foods are let onto the Indian market? Let’s hope for the sake of the population at large, they never are. The health of the nation, food security and sovereignty are not reliant on GM foods. Quite the opposite in fact!