CRIIGEN Publishes Results of Study on Genetically Modified Corn

Fields of genetically modified corn, like this one in Canada, are becoming the norm.
Photo: Blanchard

On September 18, the CRIIGEN, a genetics research committee, published the results of an alarming study in an American newspaper “Food and Chemical Toxicology.” The study proved that feeding rats genetically modified (GM) corn over a two-year period yielded a frighteningly high death rate for the subjects.

It is the first study carried out longer than the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) industry’s studies which last only 90 days. The first symptoms appeared in the rats after 4 months of being fed GM food, the NK-630 corn produced by Monsanto. This corn is illegal for human consumption in Europe, so the scientists were forced to import the GM food from Canada for their study.

The scientists issued three different doses of the GM corn mixed with regular food: 11%, 22% and 33% GM food. The conclusions are clear, according to Doctor Spiroux, co-author of the study, who stated, “For the rats fed with the food with the 11% dose, we noticed a mortality rate 2 to 3 times higher for females and 5 times higher for males… Not only do these GMOs disturb endocrine paths, but it’s possible that the weak doses are more dangerous than stronger ones.”

During the study, the scientists euthanized the rats whose tumors, as big as pig-pong balls, exceeded 25% of their weight. After one year, more than 75% of the rats were dead or ill. It shows that the industry-issued tests are not substantial enough to yield honest results and could be misleading.  The repercussions could be serious in North and South America, where the population consumes the GM corn every day.

However, the consequences would also affect Europe, where the NK-630 has been authorized for both human and animal consumption since 2004, despite the fact that the Haut Conseil des Biotechnologies (High Council of Biotechnologies) said that the NK-630 was “really not used much for human consumption.”

More importantly, “this study shows how lacking the toxicological studies issued by the European Commision for the GM products are not enough,” claimed Stéphane Le Foll (Minister of Agriculture), Delphine Batho (Minister of Environment) and Marisol Touraine (Minister of Health). They critiqued the Anses, the national agency for sanitation security, and threatened that if the study proved Monsanto’s product was dangerous, they would go to the European authorities and demand the emergency suppression of NK-630’s authorization.

José Bové, a French farmer and environmental activist, wants a more radical response, and said, “It would be crazy to act as if nothing has happened.”Bové asked the European Commissionto immediately stop the importation Monsanto’s transgenic corn.

The MON 810, another Monsanto GM product, and only one of two authorized for consumption in Europe, was in the middle of being renewed for authorization when the results of the study were published. The European Commission has stopped the procedure until the European Food of Safety Authority (EFSA)issues their ruling.

The problem is that the EFSA authorized the importation of NK-630 in the first place and could be tempted to hide truth in order to conserve its reputation. This conflict of interest is why the Criigen refused to give any information about the study to the scientists involved at the EFSA, and have asked instead that other scientists be in charge of the counter-study.

However alarming the results of this study have been, the findings are not confirmed.  On October 2, 40 scientists signed a petition stating that the study was only a coup by the media and that it was not a reliable source for conclusions. In the United States, Monsanto is also suing Indiana farmer Vernon Bowman over genetically modified soybean technology, arguing that Bowman has not been authorized to use the seed.

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