Claim that GM foods present health risk 'irrefutable' (30/6/2007)

1.The health risks of GM foods
2.Claim that GM foods present health risk 'irrefutable'
3.Minister to act quickly on issue of GM-free food
4.Ireland stands up to US pressure on GMOs

Note: For more on Shane Morris and Doug Powell (item 1) see 'GM Propaganda Lab'


1.The health risks of GM foods
Letter sent to the Editor of the Irish Times, 29 June 2007

Shane Morris's attack on Jeffrey Smith's book Genetic Roulette ‚ The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods (Letters, June 29th) employs the "shoot the messenger" strategy favoured by agri-biotech industry spin doctors who are no longer able to deny the growing scientific evidence which links GM food and animal feed to deaths and disease in laboratory animals, livestock and the human population.

Morris and his biotech colleage and mentor Doug Powell (a well-known GM industry lobbyist) have co-authored a number of pro-GMO papers, one of which received the GM Watch Propaganda Lab Award 2006 for its [XXXXXXXXXX *] scientific claims, triggering a controversy reported by New Scientist magazine.

Morris wrote his letter in response to the Kildare-based farmer Nick Cullen (Letters, June 28th), who critiqued your newspaper's coverage of the briefing on Food Safety and GMOs which I recently organised with Kathy Sinnott MEP at the EU Parliament Office in Dublin ("Sargent says GMO-free pledge is a 'huge step'", June 16th).

As Nick Cullen rightly pointed out, that article avoided any reference to the peer-reviewed scientific papers presented at the briefing, including those summarised in Genetic Roulette, but quoted instead from statements from the floor by the Chairman of the Irish Times Trust, Prof David McConnell, who attempted to portray Trevor Sargent [Ireland's new Minister of State for Agriculture and Food] – and anyone else who disagrees with his views on GMOs – as scientifically illiterate.

In the interests of transparency, your article should have mentioned that Prof McConnell's Smurfit School of Genetics at TCD is part-funded by the agribiotech industry, and that he is also the Co-Chair of EAGLES (European Action on Global Life Sciences), a biotech industry lobby group which promotes GM food and crops in the developing countries.

Our new government's aim to keep the whole island of Ireland free of GM crops and livestock will help our food and farm sectors retain access to the EU market for safe food, which increasingly prohibits or restricts the use of any food (including meat and dairy produce) containing or derived from genetically modified ingredients.

Our media should not encourage us to abandon this long-term competitive advantage because of vested interests.

GM foods and farming present a variety of extremely serious health, agronomic, environmental, legal, economic and food security risks. Please provide some more balanced coverage of these issues in the Irish Times!

Yours etc
Michael O'Callaghan
Co-ordinator, GM-free Ireland Network

[* The following is taken from the gmfreeireland website where the letter was originally posted:

"Background information (not included in the letter):

The deleted adjective used to describe the scientific paper has been censored following a threat of libel action by a Canadian Government agent called Shane Morris!"

READ ON at http://www.gmfreeireland.org/news/2007/jun.php#shane 
and at

2.Claim that GM foods present health risk 'irrefutable'
By Julie-Anne Barnes
Irish Medical News, 30 June 2007

The known health risks of genetically modified (GM) foods present a case that is "overwhelming and irrefutable" and it is now up to the biotech industry to provide rigorous scientific evidence "to show they are not risking the health of the population with food".

Mr Jeffrey M Smith, author of Genetic Roulete made this claim at a recent briefing on food safety and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) at the European Parliament Office in Dublin, where he said there are 65 documented health risks from GM foods. Mr Smith said there are now thousands of human beings complaining of toxic or allergic- type reactions from consuming, breathing or even touching GM produce.

"There are numerous ways in which the process of genetic engineering has been shown to create unpredicted side effects and many of the most fundamental assumptions that we use for the basis of safety claims have been truly wrong in the years since these crops were introduced," said Mr Smith.

His presentation coincided with the announcement by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, with responsibility for Food and Horticulture, Mr Trevor Sargent that one of the Green Party’s primary goals is to ensure that Ireland becomes Europe's first 100 per cent GM Free zone.

Mr Sargent said that the effects of GM foods on human health "are largely untested and potentially very dangerous" and "the use of GM animal feed is damaging our world famous clean green reputation as 'Ireland the food island'".

Ms Kathy Sinnott, MEP also addressed the meeting where she said the new government would need to stand up to the European Commission, which refuses to recognize the legal democratic right of member states and local authorities to have the final say on whether GM crops may be grown in their areas. During the course of the meeting Prof David McConnell, Department of Genetics, Trinity Colleg

Go to a Print friendly Page

Email this Article to a Friend

Back to the Archive