New evidence of harm from GM food triggers call for immediate ban (25/11/2005)

It's worth not just reading the main part of this press release but the accompanying BRIEFING NOTE, which contains some very interesting details and comments, including behind the scenes meetings of scientists and others that do not seem to have previously been made public.


"We need to change the focus of the debate away from the limited studies that have been done to date onto the size of the irreversible legacy that we are probably going to leave for future generations." - Prof Vyvyan Howard, Professor of Bioimaging, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster

"If the kind of detrimental effects seen in animals fed GM food were observed in a clinical setting, the use of the product would have been halted and further research instigated to determine the cause and find possible solutions. However, what we find repeatedly in the case of GM food is that both governments and industry plough on ahead with the development, endorsement and marketing [of] GM foods despite the warnings of potential ill health from animal feeding studies, as if nothing has happened. This is to the point where governments and industry even seem to ignore the results of their own research! There is clearly a need more than ever before for independent research into the potential ill effects of GM food including most importantly extensive animal and human feeding trials." - Dr Michael Antoniou, Reader in Medical and Molecular Genetics, King's College London

UK Government and EC accused of criminal negligence and willful suppression of facts
Press Notice 25th November 2005
Immediate Release
Source: GM Free Cymru

Three new studies of the health effects of GM foods have triggered fresh demands for GM components in human food and animal feed to be banned immediately, and have also led to accusations of criminal negligence aimed at the UK Government and European Commission.

The first of the studies, conducted by Russian scientist Irina Ermakova, showed that an astounding 55% of the offspring of rats fed on GM soya died within three weeks of birth, compared with only 9% in the control group (1). The second, conducted by Manuela Malatesta and colleagues in the Universities of Pavia and Urbino in Italy, showed that mice fed on GM soya experienced a slowdown in cellular metabolism and modifications to liver and pancreas (2). And the third study, conducted by CSIRO in Australia, showed that the introduction of genes from a bean variety into a GM pea led to the creation of a novel protein which caused inflammation of the lung tissue of mice (3). So serious was the damage that the research was halted, and stocks of the GM pea have been destroyed. The developers have now made a commitment that the "rogue" variety will never be marketed.

These studies, all revealed in the scientific literature within the past few weeks, have caused widespread alarm throughout the world, since two of them suggest that GM soya (used in a large number of foods) might be very dangerous, and since they appear to confirm the findings of Dr Arpad Pusztai and Dr Stanley Ewen, whose paper on physiological changes in rats fed on GM potatoes caused a worldwide sensation in 1999 (4). The authors were given the full "shoot the messenger" treatment; they were widely vilified by the scientific community, and following an intervention from the office of Prime Minister Tony Blair Dr Pusztai was sacked, his research team was dismantled, and his funding stopped. The Ewen/Pusztai research has never been repeated, let alone extended, for fear that their results will also be replicated. And there has never been a comprehensive human feeding trial involving GM food.

There is now overwhelming evidence in the literature of deaths attributable to GM products -- among laboratory and farm animals and in the human population. Some of this evidence is presented below. And yet the GM industry, and the UK and EC regulators who are charged with the protection of the public, seem to live in a permanent state of denial reminiscent of that of the early days of the smoking/health debate. Despite opposition from European Member States, the European Commission appears to be intent upon issuing one contentious and dangerous GM authorization after another, and basing its decisions upon highly selective and biased research by the applicants themselves, while taking guidance from a despised European Food Safety Authority which has lost the confidence of NGOs and consumer groups across Europe.

Speaking for GM Free Cymru, Dr Brian John said today: "Neither the UK government nor the European Commission can pretend any longer that GM foods are harmless. They must stop singing from the hymn-sheets provided for them by the GM industry, and -- not before time -- recognize that they have a legal duty to protect residents and consumers. In our view they are already guilty of criminal negligence and the willful suppression of facts. There must be no further GM consents, and GM foodstuffs must be banned immediately -- at least until such time that independent research on animals and humans gives GM a clean bill of health (24). We already know enough to be confident that that will never happen (25)."

Professor Malcolm Hooper (20) said: "The genetic modification to food is not without danger to the consumer who may be affected by genetic changes that subsequently lead to serious chronic illnesses (cancer and chronic inflammatory disease). Further independent studies, divorced from any influence of government or corporations, are now imperative and urgent."

Prof Vyvyan Howard (21) said: "We need to change the focus of the debate away from the limited studies that have been done to date onto the size of the irreversible legacy that we are probably going to leave for future generations."


Dr Brian John
GM Free Cymru
Tel 01239-820470


In spite of concerted efforts from the GM industry and from the political establishment to prevent truly independent research on the health effects of GM food, there is now a mass of information in the public domain to demonstrate that such food is potentially dangerous. We will never know how many GM varieties have been developed and then quietly abandoned before reaching the regulatory process as a result of deaths or physiological damage during animal feeding trials, since studies by Monsanto, Syngenta and the other GM corporations are conducted in-house and under conditions of great secrecy. But we do know of at least seven cases where GM varieties have been withdrawn because of direct evidence of health damage (5) (6) (7); and there are many instances of human and animal deaths arising from GM feeding trials and premature release onto the market of GM products (8-12).

In the most deadly case of all, the premature release of the GM food supplement L-tryptophan in the USA led to a large number of huma


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