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GMO assessment has ‘failed’ at protecting public health – report

Published time: February 21, 2014 09:10
Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

A basic principle in the classification of GMO foods is fundamentally flawed and “has failed miserably” at protecting public health, a study argues. The error has allowed companies to market potentially dangerous GMO products.

The principle itself is known as ‘substantial equivalence’ and is the basis for the safety protocol used by most international food regulators. It works off the idea that if a new food product (GMOs in this case) are found to be similar to an already-existing non-GMO product, then it can be treated the same with regard to safety regulations.

However, the Australia-based Permaculture Research Institute has revealed that new studies, independent of the biotech industry, are showing up “glaring differences” between GMOs and their non-GMO counterparts, suggesting the concept of substantial equivalence is flawed.

“This makes a mockery of the regulatory principle of ‘Substantial Equivalence’ which has facilitated approvals of GMOs with practically no protection for public health and the environment,” writes a study published on Friday.

At present the international regulation bodies that use the principle include the World Health Organization, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

AFP Photo/Robyn Beck

According to the report, the principle allows too much leeway for potentially dangerous products to find their way onto the consumer market. In practice a GMO crop is compared to any existing variety of the same species, meaning that a product made up of a collection of species is not treated differently. Moreover, the tests that GMO products undergo to show they are ‘substantially equivalent’ to their counterparts are not nearly detailed enough, writes the study.

“Traits used for comparisons are also based solely on gross and insensitive chemical compositional tests such as levels of carbohydrate, protein and sugars. This process cannot even begin to tackle safety issues.”

The study cites research carried out by Professor El-Sayed Shaltout at Alexandria University last year that found that Monsanto’s 810 Corn (Ajeeb-YG®) was radically different to its non-GM counterpart. Research revealed that Monsanto’s corn had “abnormal levels” of amino acids and fatty acids, as well as increased total protein, crude fat and decreased starch content.

Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

The full extent of the difference in the GMO corn was shown when the product was tested on lab rats. After consuming the modified corn the lab rats displayed a range of health problems, ranging from tissue abnormalities to fatty degeneration in the liver and congested blood cells in the kidneys.

The Permaculture Research Institute’s study recommends rigorous research by independent organizations to examine and highlight the differences between GMO products and their equivalents and reassess the principle of substantial equivalence.

“In reality, genetic modification causes very real and substantial, unpredictable and uncontrollable changes in the host genome including mutations,” the study concludes, stressing "GM crops have already been shown to cause damage to both health and the environment in many independent studies.”

Comments (14)


Regula 28.03.2014 09:00

The GMO stuff is for the poor and for cattle. The rich buy organic food. Including the politicians who then advocate the legalization of GMO crops.

Whic h means that the poor are just good enough to do the work and die from the food they eat so the rich can cash the money and eat pure food.

Simil ar studies found that milk from cows fed with GMO grain had a different composition form organic milk. It time and again turns around fatty acids, saturated fats and protein contents. GMO containing milk is less healthy than organic milk.


Andy Dinh 22.02.2014 19:36

This article shares some interesting results, to find out more about the effects of GMOs, read up on it here! hat-are-gmos/


Go green,ergo sum 21.02.2014 19:22

As Spartacus would say: " KIll them ALL" It's been enough to have these sociopaths running many institutions around the world.

We the 99% are stronger and the good always wins, not every day everywhere, but at the end , the love and compassion we have for one another is stronger than those arbitrary propaganda differences that they want to divide us with. ie. religion,sex, race etc..

Love you all my dear friends and let's bring these Rockefellers, Rotschilds, Morgans and others back to justice.

View all comments (14)
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