1.Legal move to make EU publish GM test results
2.Congressman enters results of secret GM study into Congressional record
It's good news that there are going to be legal challenges (item 1) to the keeping secret of Monsanto's still unpublished 1139 page report on its 90-day rat feeding study, which showed that rats fed on its GM corn (Mon 863) had smaller kidneys and raised levels of white blood cells compared to those who ate a similar non-GM corn. (item 2)
It seems highly unlikely that there is anything in it that could remotely be regarded as commercially sensitive - the reason given by Monsanto for not publishing it. Unless, of course, Monsanto has a proprietary right over crap science!
Incidentally, Prof Colin Berry, who is part of the industry-friendly pro-GM lobby group - the Scientific Alliance, said the following during a recent BBC interview:
BBC REPORTER: Wouldn't it be better then just to publish them up front and people would have much more confidence if they knew that any scientist could go and look at the data, look at the original findings and say whether or not they stand up to scrutiny?
PROFESSOR BERRY: Yes I think that's a perfectly reasonable point. I think the problem is I'm not the proper person to decide what is commercially sensitive, but let me emphasize, as far as I understand it all of these data are discoverable that any... by any scientist who wants to see them if they've been reported to a regulatory authority.
So perhaps Sir Colin could tell us exactly where scientists who want to see this data can "discover" and obtain them from a regulatory authority - or why Dr Pusztai had to sign a "Declaration of secrecy" before one of the national competent
authorities handed over the 1139 pages? The declaration was designed precisely to ensure that Dr Pusztai could not publicly "say whether or not they stand up to scrutiny".
Of course, Monsanto keeps emphasising that their report did get past various scientific bureaucrats, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). That fact would be slightly more persuasive if the EFSA actually had some active scientists with nutritional expertise on its committee or if it had on any occasion rejected anything from any biotechnology company! It never has. Approval appears to be close to invariable. Unlike other working scientists, it seems, corporate biotechnologists always turn out flawless work! For more on the disturbing record of the EFSA: http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=4669
Finally, GM WATCH's Claire Robinson reminds us of a basic fact of science that Dr Pusztai has often pointed out:
Why do scientists perform complex biological experiments on groups of rats which were given different diets (GM vs non-GM)?
Obviously, they want to find out whether the various measured parameters, properties or some other data obtained in the experiment are the same or different between the different groups (the notorious substantial equivalence).
So what is the point when they find *statistically significant differences* if they and other pro-GM scientists turn around and say 'But we think that these differences are not important'!!!
If these differences are not important, why did they waste so much time and money looking for them in the first place?
1.Legal move to make EU publish GM test results
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Independent on Sunday, 29 May 2005
Two legal initiatives are to be launched to force European bureaucrats to make public secret research on the effects of feeding GM corn to rats, whose results were exclusively revealed in The Independent on Sunday.
This week, in separate moves, a British pressure group is to approach the European ombudsman, and a former French environment minister is to write to the European Court to ask it to lift the cloak of confidentiality from a 1,139- page report by the biotech giant Monsanto, which showed that rats fed a modified corn had smaller kidneys and raised levels of white blood cells compared to those who ate a similar non-GM one.
The results have raised fears that human health might also be at risk from the corn, which the EU is expected to approve for sale this year.
Prof Gilles-Eric Seralini, professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen, who scrutinises the safety of GM products for the EC, told The Independent on Sunday last week that he found the research results "very worrying".
He is president of the Scientific Council of the French Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetics, which has been trying to get the research made public for 18 months.
Monsanto claims to have published "all the relevant safety information" in an 11-page report in December 2002, but while asserting that the rats "responded similarly" to GM and non-GM food, it contains no detailed data.
2.[Congressman] Kucinich enters results of secret GM study into Congressional record
Thursday 26th May 2005 (18h24) :
"Mr. Speaker, I wish to bring the following article to the attention of my colleagues. We must continue to challenge the FDAs assumption that all genetically engineered food is safe."
From the Independent, May 22, 2005
Revealed: Health Fears Over Secret Study Into GM Food
By Geoffrey Lean
Rats fed on a diet rich in genetically modified corn developed abnormalities to internal organs and changes to their blood, raising fears that human health could be affected by eating GM food.
The Independent on Sunday can today reveal details of secret research carried out by Monsanto, the GM food giant, which shows that rats fed the modified corn had smaller kidneys and variations in the composition of their blood.
According to the confidential 1,139-page report, these health problems were absent from another batch of rodents fed non-GM food as part of the research project.
The disclosures come as European countries, including Britain, prepare to vote on whether the GM-modified corn should go on sale to the public. A vote last week by the European Union failed to secure agreement over whether the product should be sold here, after Britain and nine other countries voted in favour.
However, the disclosure of the health effects on the Monsanto rats has intensified the row over whether the corn is safe to eat without further research. Doctors said the changes in the blood of the rodents could indicate that the rats immune system had been damaged or that a disorder such as a tumour had grown and the system was mobilising to fight it.
Dr. Vyvyan Howard, a senior lecturer on human anatomy and cell biology at Liverpool University, called for the publication of the full study, saying the summary gave "prima facie cause for concern."
Dr. Michael Antoniu, an expert in molecular genetics at Guys Hospital Medical School, described the findings as "very worrying from a medical point of view", adding: "I have been amazed at the number of significant differences they found [in the rat experiment]."
Although Monsanto last night dismissed the abnormalities in rats as meaningless and due to chance, reflecting normal variations between rats, a senior British government source said ministers were so worried by the findings that they had called for further information.
Environmentalists will see the findings as vindication of British research seven years ago, which suggested that rats that ate GM potatoes suffered damage to their health. That research, which was roundly denounced by ministers and the British scientific establishment, was halted and Dr. Arpad Pusztai, the
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