17 June 2015
GMO INDUSTRY SAFETY STUDIES ARE WORTHLESS
New research reveals routine use of contaminated lab animal feed
The twin mantras (a) that GMOs are proved safe, and (b) that there is a scientific consensus based on sound science, have been shown to be worthless by two pieces of research published this week.
In the Unites States, research scientist Dr Anthony Samsel has analysed the Purina diet routinely used in animal feeding experiments designed to test the safety of GMOs before they are brought to the market (1). He has found that three of the standard Purina feeds formulated for rats, mice and other mammals contain both GMOs and glyphosate. In correspondence, Purina has confirmed that it does not test for these contaminants, and makes no guarantees that their feeds are "clean". Yet they are used every day for feeding to both the control groups and the test groups in feeding experiments. It may seem extraordinary, but research teams have always simply ASSUMED that the animal chow used is pure and nutritious, and hardly any tests have been done to validate this assumption. No certification regarding test feed purity is required by journal editors or by food safety regulators either in the US or in the EU. So a "don't ask - don't tell" policy appears to have been in play for more than 20 years. If both a control group and a test group in a lab experiment are fed contaminated feed, there will be so much "noise" in the experimental data set for physiological changes that it becomes impossible to pick up genuine chronic toxic effects for the GMO being tested.
By sheer coincidence, another group working in France has today announced the results of new research into the feed used in lab experiments (2). Dr Robin Mesnage and colleagues have tested 13 samples of proprietary feed. All of the samples contained significant amounts of pesticides and other contaminants; Roundup / glyphosate traces were detected in 9 of the 13 diets; and 11 of the 13 diets contained GMOs that are grown with large amounts of Roundup. The full paper will be published this month in the peer-reviewed open access journal PlosOne. The authors note that the contamination levels recorded are high enough to cause serious diseases and disrupt the hormonal and nervous systems of the animals in control groups, let alone in the test groups. So the routine use of contaminated feed prevents the attribution of observed toxic effects to the products being tested, and requires the sacrifice of a large number of animals in an attempt to observe statistically significant results in carcinogenicity tests, for example. This is of course also an animal welfare issue. They also ask a simple question: could it be that the Sprague-Dawley rats used in many of these feeding experiments have been wrongly assumed to be uniquely susceptible to cancers, when the blame for the high incidence of tumours might be down to the high level of contaminants in the control diets used? (3)
It appears that much of the "safety research" underpinning the belief that GMOs are safe to eat is fundamentally flawed. It is hardly credible that this level of incompetence has existed within the science community for so many years; and it is much more likely that there has been a cynical acquiescence in scientific fraud, designed to achieve desired results.
Commenting for GM-Free Cymru, Dr Brian John says: "These staggering revelations bring into question the whole of the GMO exercise which has involved the transformation of much of US agriculture by the use on a vast scale of Roundup-Ready soy, corn and other GMO crops; and the flooding of the global food supply by GMO products that cannot any longer be assumed to be safe. Professor Seralini and his team, who have had to suffer an extraordinary level of vilification from fellow scientists and industry spokesmen, are vindicated. And the thousands of biotech scientists who have declared forcefully that GMOs are "proven to be safe" have to own up to the fact that they have used pseudo-science and dogma as a substitute for sound research (4)."
In connection with these new research findings, GM-Free Cymru has now written to the EC and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to request -- at the very least -- an immediate halt to all GMO authorisations and revocation of previous authorisations pending a full review of the integrity of all of the scientific "safety studies" on which those authorisations were based (5).
Contact: Dr Brian John
+44 176 841
(1) Lab Chow Contaminated by Glyphosate, by Barbara H. Peterson and Jon Abrahamson, Farm Wars, 15 June 2015
(3) The Seralini team whose study of GMO and Roundup toxic effects on rats was retracted by the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, after an orchestrated campaign of vilification, was heavily criticised for the use of Sprague-Dawley rats, although these animals were also used in similar (but short-term) feeding studies sponsored by Monsanto. One critic after another claimed that the results were skewed because of the inherent tendency of these rats to develop tumours during the course of lab experiments. Many scientific committees within the EU member states repeated this dubious statement, including the GMO Panel of EFSA which coordinated the attempts to discredit Prof Seralini and his fellow researchers.
(5) OPEN LETTER to EFSA:
GMO SAFETY STUDIES ARE FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED; EU CONSENTS MUST BE REVOKED IMMEDIATELY