GM health risks are back in the spotlight as Seralini prepares to start his tour of the UK.
1.Why has study saying GM could kill been ignored? – exclusive
2.GM Health Risks Week Itinerary
EXTRACTS: "Seralini's is the longest and most thorough [study] to date on a GM food and its associated pesticide. We ignore its findings at our peril." - Claire Robinson, GMWatch
"If there is a one in 1000 chance that Professor Seralini is on to something, we should be replicating and building on his studies as a matter of urgency - even a small risk of harming the health of billions of people should be explored openly." - Pete Ritchie, Director of Nourish Scotland
"No GM crops are grown in Scotland and we are committed to ensuring that remains the case" - Richard Lochhead, Scottish Environment Minister (item 1)
NOTE: Find out more about the UK tour here http://www.gmhealthriskweek.org/ and following @GMHRW on Twitter.
Others taking part in the events, in addition to Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini, include:
Ib Borup Pederson, a farmer with experience of GM soy's impact on pigs
Claire Robinson of GMWatch
Joanna Blythman, the award-winning investigative food writer
Brian Wynne, Professor of Science Studies at CSEC and at the ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen)
Dr Jonathan R Latham, Director of the Bioscience Resource Project
David Murphy and Lisa Stokke, founders of Food Democracy Now! in the US
Mike Small, famous for the Fife diet
Emyr Jones, president of the Farmers Union of Wales
Note in relation to Julian Little's claim in the following article: far from being a crazy conspiracy theory, the Science Media Centre actually claimed credit for killing coverage of the Seralini study in the UK - see: http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/issues/science/item/164
And as for his claim that the GM debate is over because "more than three trillion" GM meals have been eaten, this is debunked in detail here: http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/issues/science/item/5461
1.Why has study saying GM could kill been ignored?
Sunday Herald, 1 September 2013
A scientific study suggesting genetically modified food killed rats has been suppressed because of lobbying by multinational biotech corporations, environmental campaigners claim.
The study by researchers under Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen in northern France ran into an immediate barrage of condemnation when it was published. As a result, it has been largely ignored by the media, and is mostly unknown in the UK.
But campaign groups are now seeking to change that in a series of public meetings across the UK starring Seralini. He is a molecular biologist and president of the scientific board of the Committee of Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering.
The first event in what has been dubbed "GM (genetically modified) Health Risk Week", is to take place at Edinburgh University tomorrow. On Tuesday, Seralini is giving a briefing in the Scottish Parliament.
Seralini's study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology last September. It claimed the results of feeding laboratory rats on GM maize produced by US company Monsanto.
He claimed that over two years the rats suffered increased rates of organ damage, tumours and premature death. Researchers blamed GM foods, concluding they "must be evaluated very carefully by long-term studies to measure their potential toxic effects".
But as soon as it appeared, the study was called "absurd", "inadequate", and "well below standard".
Julian Little, chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council representing Monsanto and other GM firms, said the study was "deeply flawed in many ways". The accusation it had been suppressed was "totally crazy", he added.
"It's a conspiracy theory that doesn't stack up", he said. "More than three trillion meals with GM ingredients have been eaten by people around the world without any substantiated health issues. The question of whether GM is safe is a dead duck."
Quotes from scientists were gathered and distributed by the Science Media Centre in London, which has received funding from GM firms such as Monsanto, as well as many other sources. A campaign was mounted to persuade the journal to withdraw the study. This was resisted, though the journal has published criticisms by scientists, and responses by Seralini.
The Seralini study "threatened the very basis of the multi-billion dollar GM industry", according to Claire Robinson, from environmental group GM Watch. She claimed coverage "was stamped out by the pro-GM Science Media Centre."
She said: "Attacks on Seralini's study methodology are especially suspect because he simply replicated Monsanto's own study on the same GM maize but extended it in length. Are we expected to believe this study design is good enough to prove the safety of this GM maize but not good enough to show hazards?"
Robinson, who runs a website dedicated to defending Seralini's work, accepted no study is perfect. "But Seralini's is the longest and most thorough to date on a GM food and its associated pesticide," she added. "We ignore its findings at our peril."
The Food Standards Agency Scotland has advised that Seralini's data did not support his conclusions.
But Scottish Environment Minister Richard Lochhead reiterated his opposition to GM crops. He said. "No GM crops are grown in Scotland and we are committed to ensuring that remains the case."
A new food group, Nourish Scotland, is conducting a public inquiry to find a blueprint for feeding Scotland's five million people sustainably. Its vision does not include GM food.
Director Pete Ritchie said: "If there is a one in 1000 chance that Professor Seralini is on to something, we should be replicating and building on his studies as a matter of urgency - even a small risk of harming the health of billions of people should be explored openly."
2.GM Health Risks Week Itinerary
Events are planned from 2nd to 8th September in Edinburgh, London, Manchester and Newport, and we would love you to come along.
Edinburgh (2nd – 3rd September)
"A GM-Free Scotland?" An evening of speakers chaired by journalist and author Joanna Blythman.
We’re proud of a GM-Free Scotland, but what would relaxing regulations on GM mean for our health? What risks might we be exposed to at this moment by GM animal food? Come and have the science explained, hear new evidence and see recent industry cover-ups exposed. Everyone welcome.
Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini
Professor of molecular biology at the university of Caen and resident of the CRII-GEN scientific board (committee of independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering) His ground breaking 2012 study links GM and the pesticide Roundup to organ damage and increased risk of tumours.
Ib Borup Pederson
A conventional Danish Farmer who digestive and reproductive problems in his pigs when they ate GM feed. Hear his observations on switching to non-GM feed.
Co-founder of the fife diet, a consumer network of people passionate about local food. Mike and the fife diet have been instrumental in ensuring that Scotland remains GM Free in the face of opposition from Westminster. He shares with us the regional people-powered successes of promoting alternatives to big agribusiness.
When: Monday 2nd September 19:00 - 20:30
Where: Chrystal MacMillan Building, University of Edinburgh, George Square, EH8 9LD
Scottish Parliamentary Briefing hosted by Jean Urquhart
Professor Séralini, will give a 30 minute presentation of his most recent research into the toxicity of Monsanto’s GM NK603 maize and pesticide, which found that the ingestion of these products caused severe organ damage and increased risk of tumours and premature death in the rats on which it was tested. We will then open up for questions and discussion. A briefing paper will be provided to attendees.
As an important voice against GM in the EU, we feel that Scottish MSPs would benefit enormously from an explanation of Prof Séralini’s findings and the implications of his work, as we are certain that it will continue to re-affirm Scotland’s stance in favour of local, sustainable and healthy food in the face of opposition from Westminster.
When: Tuesday 3rd September 12:30 - 13:30
Where: TG.20-21, Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, EH99 1SP
London (4 th September)
Dealing with New Evidence on GMO Safety
Expert Briefing and Discussion: All Welcome
The purpose of the meeting is to look at new information on the safety of GM crops and how well (or not) it is assessed by regulators. The speakers will be: a working pig farmer who has had first-hand experience of possible side effects of GM feed); two scientists who have unearthed new evidence on the safety of GM crops; and an academic specialising in risk assessment and public perception.
Professor Gilles Eric Séralini
Farmer Ib Borag Pederson
Professor Brian Wynne (Lancaster University)
Brian is Professor of Science Studies at CSEC and at the ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen).
Jonathan R Latham, PhD
Johnathan is co-founder and Executive Director of the Bioscience Resource Project; Dr. Latham holds a Masters degree in Crop Genetics and a PhD in Virology
When: Wednesday 4th September 14:00 - 15:30
Where: Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster, London (please remember to provide photographic identification)
An evening in London
GM Health Risks? An evening of new evidence
As our Environment Minister Owen Paterson is pushing for wider public acceptance of GM, this is a chance to discuss key issues with the author of the most detailed GM feeding study to date.
This session will be chaired by Pat Thomas. Pat is an award winning campaigner and former editor of the ecologist.
Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, Claire Robinson. Claire is editor of GMOSeralini.org. A public information website, and editor at GMWatch and research director at Earth Open Source.
David Murphy and Lisa Stokke are founders of Food Democracy Now! A US grassroots movement of farmers and citizens dedicated to building a sustainable food system in North America. They work with 650,000 US farmers and are currently running campaigns about glyphosate in a GM dominated food system.
When: Wednesday 4th September 19:00 - 20:30
Where: Senate House, Malet Street, London
Manchester (5th September)
“GM: The Future of Farming?”
Come straight from work- they’ll be hot food supplied by local organic growers available on donation.
An opportunity to hear researchers, farmers and food campaigners discuss their direct experience with GM technology.
Speakers: David and Lisa from Food Democracy Now!
Farmer Ib Borup Pederson and researcher Claire Robinson.
When: Thursday 5th September 18:00 - 20:00
Where: Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester
Newport, Wales (6th September)
“What They Don’t Tell You About GM Animal Feed”
A unique opportunity to hear from international research scientist Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini, about the potential consequences of using GM animal feed.
Chaired by Emyr jones; president of the Farmers Union of Wales
Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini,
Farmer Ib Borup Pederson,
And David and Lisa from Food Democracy Now!
When: Friday 6th September 19:00 - 21:00
Where: Room A15 (Ground Floor), University of South Wales, Newport City
Campus, Usk Way, Newport, NP20 2BP
Tea and sandwiches served 6-7pm.