The Big Lie - GE Foods
And GE Crops Are Safe
GM Foods - The Mystery Of The Missing Research
The media has been saturated with statements from scientific bodies to assure us that GM foods have been 'rigorously tested' and are 'totally safe' . The Chief Scientist, the Royal Society, the Nuffield Foundation, the American Food and Drug Administration and the European Commissioner for food safety are just a few of those that have made such statements. Surely they can't all be wrong?
Two months ago I began a survey to classify and evaluate the existing independent published research on GM food safety. I was interested to find the best research.. I wanted to find out about long-term experiments to detect possible effects that may take a few years to appear. I wanted to find out about tests on human volunteers and tests to detect effects on children, the elderly or those prone to allergies. I wanted to look at research that had been published in respected academic publications, such as the Journal of Nutrition, and that had then been peer-reviewed by other scientists. I was to be sorely disappointed.
I e-mailed all the experts - the biotech companies, government regulatory bodies in the UK and USA and the leading academics promoting the genetic engineering of food and crops - all of whom would have the facts at their fingertips and be keen to share them. Monsanto initially sent a vast list of references but these turned out not to relate to published data but merely a collection of opinions and statements by geneticists and government bodies. That was not very reassuring so I tried again to find real data - without success. The response from the Nuffield Foundation was almost identical.
Professor C S Prakash, the USA's biotech "ambassador", promised to send the elusive data but warned me that "much of such research is financed by agbiotech companies and it is hard to identify even when seemingly they appear not to be financed by companies". In his follow-up message that contained no references to published data, he explained "you will notice that much of this is not from referred publications (a discussion on the paucity of this research has just appeared in recent Science magazine)".
The British Medical Association, representing the UK's doctors, has not blindly rubber-stamped the technology. They stated that "The BMA's Board of Science is not aware of any major independent research considering the long term health effects of GM foods that has been published since our report was issued". This report, published last year, called for a moratorium until the necessary research on GM food and crops had been carried out.
Despite receiving many other responses, the mystery data never did appear - and respondents defensively explained that such research would be 'unnecessary', 'excessive' or 'impossible' and, indeed, that requests for such research were 'hysterical'. [If any readers can find the missing information please do pass it on to me].
I seem to have discovered the reason for there being 'no data to suggest that GM foods may be dangerous' - the reason is that there is no data. fullstop! No data means no bad data. The UK Government claims to be 'pro-science' yet it has commissioned no experiments to compare the effects of conventional and GM foods on animals or on humans that have led to the publication of any data (with one exception). Is their reason for not doing the research the same as the reason the Pope refused to look through Galileo 's telescope? - fear of what they might find. Like the Pope, the scientific establishment is using its status to support its opinions rather than relying on factual data. In an age when multinational corporations fund most research this is a highly disturbing development.
The 144 UK organizations - from the Women's Institute to the Local Government Association - who are calling for a 'Five Year Freeze' on GM food and crops so that proper research can take place - have been called irrational Luddites and technophobes. It looks now, however, as if the government and the biotech companies are the ones that are really afraid of independent scientific research. Its time for us to demand facts.
There was, as I mentioned, one exception, a single published report on a government-sponsored research project. It was published in the Lancet, the Journal of the British Medical Association, and was of course the results of Dr Arpad Pustzai's research into the effects of GM potatoes on rats. Maybe that fact alone explains why no more research of this kind
In parallel with this e-mail I have sent another one entitled PLAY GMQUEST2000 - a game in which players try to get the truth about safety testing from the GM corporations, geneticists and politicians.. Please forward copies to your contacts.
[Robert Vint is the National Co-ordinator of Genetic Food Alert - the joint campaign of wholefood wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers for GM-Free food. [ Website , e-mail ] _____
"Swapping genes between organisms can produce unknown toxic effects and allergies that are most likely to affect children" - Dr Vyvyan Howard: expert in infant toxico-pathology at Liverpool University Hospital, UK. (Ref: The Guardian: 19/3/98)

This Site Served by TheHostPros