Science Shows GM Foods Are Dangerous
|July 26, 2002||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Science Shows GM Foods Are Dangerous
New Study Shows Humans Are at Danger from GM Foods
A scientific study on GM foods has been published and it shows dangers.
What about previous studies? Ah well, the anti-science GM corporations (and government agencies that are supposed to watch over them) have not previously made any such studies! They simply pay lobbyists to get government approval to sell their untested products. You and your children are being used as guinea pigs.
As Craig Winters of the Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods puts it, “A new study published by the British Food Safety Standards Agency is the world’s first known trial of genetically engineered foods on human volunteers. Don’t you find that incredible? How in the world can the biotech industry say these foods are safe when they have never done any peer-reviewed clinical feeding studies on humans?”
Here are some excerpts from recent news reports appearing in the Daily Mail (UK) and released by Friends of the Earth.
by Sean Poulter
Eating GM food can change the genetic make-up of your digestive system and could put you at risk of infections that are resistant to antibiotics, experts said today.
A British study has revealed that volunteers who ate one meal containing genetically modified soya had traces of the modified DNA in bacteria in their small intestines.
Scientists now fear that GM foods, which are often modified to be resistant to antibiotics, will leave Britons vulnerable to untreatable diseases. The research contradicts repeated claims by the GM industry that gene transfer from foods to humans is extremely unlikely. It also raises the possibility that millions of people may already have GM bacteria from food they have eaten.
Geneticist Dr Michael Antoniou, London, said the results indicated the need for an extensive GM foods testing programme. He added: “The most significant finding is that there is GM soya DNA in the bacteria at readily detectable levels in the small intestines. It was always said by the industry that this could not happen or was extremely unlikely.”
Dr Antoniou added: “Bacteria in the gut are going to take up genes that will make them resistant to potentially therapeutic antibiotics. The possibility is that someone who picked up the antibiotic resistance through food and then fell ill, that a medical antibiotic might not be effective.”
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Genetically Engineered Crop Gene Found for First Time in Bacteria in Human Digestive System; Concerns About Antibiotic Resistance Raised
New evidence from British scientists raises serious questions about the safety of genetically engineered foods. A study published by the British Food Safety Standards Agency (FAS) showed for the first time that a gene inserted in a genetically engineered crop has found its way into bacteria in the human gut.
Many engineered crops have antibiotic resistance marker genes inserted in them, and there are fears that if material from these marker genes passes into humans, people’s ability to fight infections may be reduced.
Researchers fed a single meal of a hamburger and a milk shake that both contained genetically engineered soy to study participants. According to the FSA gene uptake study, entitled “Evaluating the Risks Associated with Using GMOs in Human Foods” (pp. 22-27, http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/science/sciencetopics/gmfoods/gm_reports), an herbicide resistance gene from a Roundup Ready variety of engineered soy was found by researchers in bacteria from the small intestines of three out of seven study participants (pg. 24).
Adrian Bebb, GM food campaigner for Friends of the Earth UK said, “This research should set alarm bells ringing. Industry scientists and government advisors have always played down the risk of this ever happening, but the first time they looked for it they found it.”
The biotech industry has long maintained that DNA is destroyed during digestion and that there are barriers to incorporation of genetically engineered crop genes by bacteria. According to a March 4, 2001 news release by the multi-million dollar biotech lobbying initiative called the Council for Biotechnology Information, “the DNA contained in food — including the antibiotic-resistance gene — is broken down in the human gut during the digestive process.”
However, those assertions crumbled under the FSA findings, which showed that engineered crop genes can survive digestion long enough to be incorporated by bacteria.
The new evidence raises safety concerns for people eating genetically engineered foods. In particular, if antibiotic resistance genes used in some varieties of engineered crops are being picked up by bacteria in the intestines of people eating engineered foods, this could increase bacterial resistance to life-saving antibiotics.
According to Michael Antoniou, a senior lecturer in molecular genetics at King’s College Medical School in London, the study “suggests that you can get antibiotic marker genes spreading amongst the bacterial population within the intestine which could compromise future antibiotic use. They have shown that this can happen even at very low levels after just one meal.”
Given the research results, Friends of the Earth is calling for the immediate withdrawal of genetically engineered crops containing antibiotic resistance markers from the market. The organization also calls for further research into the effects of gene transfer to bacteria.
In May 1999, the British Medical Association also called for a ban of crops with antibiotic resistance marker genes stating, “There should be a ban on the use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in GM food, as the risk to human health from antibiotic resistance developing in micro-organisms is one of the major public health threats that will be faced in the 21st Century.”
Be sure to see Fred Foldvary’s editorial on Genetically Manipulated Food
If the GM corporations did not know about this problem, what else don’t they know? We should use science to determine food safety for ourselves and our children — don’t place your safety in the hands of anti-science corporations. What’s your opinion? Tell your views to The Progress Report!