the eminent biochemist
who is often referred to as the father of molecular biology
"a molecular Auschwitz"
He warned that
does not result in "progress"
Scientists from six countries join forces with MEPs to call for a Europe wide and worldwide ban on growing GM crops.
The event coincides with key scientific publications [1,2] on how national and international regulators have been ignoring damning evidence against the safety of GM food and feed while colluding with industry to manipulate scientific research to promote GM crops. The scientific papers will be presented to the European Parliament together with a comprehensive dossier containing more than 160 fully referenced articles from the Science in Society archives documenting the serious hazards ignored, the scientific fraud, the regulatory sham and violation of farmers' rights 
1. Seralini G-E, Cellier D and de Vendomois JS. New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically modified maize reveals signs of hepatorenal toxicity. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 2007, 52, 596-602.
2. Ho MW, Cummins J and Saunders PT. GM food nightmare unfolding in the regulatory sham. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 2007,published online 7 June 2007, DOI: 10.1080/08910600701 343781
GM Science Exposed: Hazards Ignored, Fraud, Regulatory Sham, and
Violation of Farmers' Rights, Science in Society Spring 2003-Summer
2007, ISIS CD Book, 2007.
For further details please contact:
Burcher or Andy Watton, tel: 44-(0)20-8452-2729, e-mail:
sam@I-sis.org.uk , andy@I-sis.org.uk
10:05 Opening and Chairman's Remarks Mr. Janusz Wojciechowski MEP ,Vice Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
10:10 Special Address Ms. Jill Evans MEP
10:15 Dr. Mae-Wan Ho , Director of ISIS, UK No to GMOs, No to GM Science
10:30 Dr. Irina Ermakova , Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards
10:45 Dr. Christian Velot , University of Caen, France and CriiGen ( Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, France) WhyCriiGen?
11:00 Dr. Caroline Lucas , Green MEP Why Europe has to be GM Free
11:15 Coffee/Tea break
11:30 Dr. Eva Novotny , Scientists for Global Responsibility, UK Transgene Contamination Is Inevitable
11:45 Prof. Joe Cummins , ISIS, Canada GM Crops and Colony Collapse of Honeybees
12:00 Dr. Zbigniew Halat , Association for Protection of Consumer Health, Poland Resistance to GMOs in Poland, Its Roots and Fruits
12:15 Dr. Pietro Perrino , Institute of Plant Genetics, CNR, Bari, Italy The Genebanks Robbers
12:30 Mr. Jeffrey Smith , IRT, USA Documented Health Risks of GM Food and Feed
12:45 General discussion
Closing remarks Prof. Peter Saunders
Quotes from Speakers
Mr. Janusz Wojciechowski , MEP, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development: “For me it is obvious that decisions on GMOs must be based on public opinion, and I do my best in that regard as one of the decision makers in the EU, to safeguard the health of citizens above all.”
Dr. Joe Cummins, Emeritus Professor of Genetics , University of Western Ontario, Canada: “The collapse of honeybees worldwide is almost certainly a combination of different factors including mobile phone transmitters, new systemic neonicotinoid pesticides used in seed dressings and sprays in both conventional and GM crops, and GM crops containing Bt toxins, a biopesticide. Bt biopesticides reduce the honeybee's immunity to infection by parasitic fungi that are also widely used as biocontrol agents, so it is a case of casualty from friendly fire. The honeybee is a major pollinator of our food crops, and its demise is a dire warning that the extinction of the human species is not far behind”
Dr. Irina Ermakova of the Russian Academy of Sciences: “So many things went wrong for rats fed genetically modified soybeans. They became more anxious and aggressive, there was a high mortality of rat pups born to the females in the first generation, disturbances of reproductive function,s and pathological changes in the internal organs of males and females.”
Dr. Zbigniew Halat, President of the Association for Protection of Consumers Health: “The problems created by genetic engineering are global, it is the proliferation of a kind of biological weapon of mass destruction worldwide.”
Dr. Eva Novotny of SGR: “There can be no co-existence of GM and non-GM crops, as the latest research shows that GM pollen can be transported downwind tens of kilometres. It is clear that we have to make our choice right now.”
Mr. Jeffrey Smith worked with more than 30 scientists over the past two years, compiling the health risks of GM foods for his new book, Genetic Roulette : “There is now irrefutable evidence that GM foods are unsafe. Animal trials show damage to virtually every system studied, reports describe thousands of sick, sterile and dead livestock, large numbers of people link toxic or allergic symptoms to GM products, and most of the fundamental assumptions about the technology, used as the basis for safety claims, have been overturned.”
Dr. Pietro Perrino , Director of Research, Institute of Plant Genetics, (formerly Institute of Germplasm) Bari, Italy: “We urgently need to protect the gene banks as they may soon be the only source of uncontaminated seed stocks in the world. This may be why the biotech industry and their supporters are so keen to see them destroyed after they've sequenced the genomes and patented the genes.”
Dr. Christian Velot of Criigen: “Practically all the studies finding “no effect” of GM food and feed are done by companies seeking market approval or funded by them. This research simply does not stand up to independent scientific scrutiny, and regulators are putting people at serious health risks by accepting such research results.”
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho , Director of ISIS: “ GMOs are not only hazardous for health and bad for the environment, they will severely damage our chances of surviving global warming. GM crops need more fossil fuels and water to grow, both of which are fast diminishing. Europe cannot afford to waste any more time and resources on GMOs, we must start investing in sustainable food and energy systems now.”
Jill Evans MEP , member of the Green/European Free Alliance Group, Vice President of Plaid Cymru and party spokesperson for European and International issues and chair of CND Cymru, member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety with special interest in food safety and GMOs, member of the Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Authorities, and deputises on the Committee for Regional Development and Committee for Women's Rights and Gender Equality; attended University in Aberystwyth and gained her M.Phil. at the former Polytechnic of Wales; worked for the National Federation of Women's Institutes in Wales for six years before becoming Wales Regional Organiser for CHILD, the National Infertility Support Network; Councillor for seven years on the former Rhondda Borough and Mid Glamorgan County Councils and then Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council; elected Plaid Cymru's Alternate Member of the Committee of the Regions in 1993, served for four years, and was also the party's representative on the European Free Alliance, working with Plaid Cymru's sister parties throughout the continent; Chair of Plaid Cymru 1994-96, and elected first MEP in Plaid Cymru's history together with fellow candidate Eurig Wyn in June 1999.
Dr. Zbigniew Halat medical doctor, consultant epidemiologist; CEO of Health Risk Management & Communication; Chairman of The John Snow International Society for Common Sense in Public Health; President of Association for Protection of Consumers Health; Founder of The Dr Halat Water Institute; Former Deputy Minister of Health in first three non-communist governments of post-war Poland; fought epidemic outbreaks of foodborne and waterborn diseases in the 1970s; consultant epidemiologist in Central Province of the Republic of Kenya in the 1980s, witnessed the birth of a new epidemic, HIV/AIDS, which became an important target of his activity under auspices of Polish Red Cross after he returned to Poland; as Deputy Minister of Health, Chief Sanitary Inspector. He introduced to post-communist Poland the latest advances in public health: environmental health, health promotion and peer education; his achievements were described by a prestigious medical journal as follows: “the quixotic and controversial deputy minister of health, government sanitary inspector, and chief environmental health officer, Zbigniew Halat MD is engaged in a personal crusade to shake the health service out of the spiritual atrophy induced by 45 years of communism. Hard working, self reliant, aggressive, and abrasively masculine, this man of Promethean energies put me in mind of a nineteenth century northern mill owner" (Karin Chopin, Letters from Poland, British Medical Journal, 30 May, 6 June, and 13 June 1992). He later developed a new branch of medicine, consumer medicine, focusing on diagnostic, preventive and legal aspects of health risks linked to consumer goods, from tap water to genetically engineered products. Since 1999 Dr. Halat became an icon of anti-GMO movement in Poland; he is editor-in-chief of a health protection movement periodical Health Risks in Poland , columnist of a monthly Consumer's World linked to European and US consumer opinion magazines, and collaborator of influential radio and tv broadcasting stations.
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho , B.Sc. Biol (First Class) and Ph.D. Biochemistry. Hong Kong University; co-founder and Director of the Institute of Science in Society, a not-for-profit organisation promoting social responsibility and holistic, ecological approaches in science, Editor and Art Director of the magazine Science in Society ; Science Advisor to the Third World Network and on the Roster of Experts for the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety. She has a long and distinguished career in research and teaching at universities in the United States and the UK in several disciplines; numerous publications including 151 scientific papers and 14 books; best known for pioneering a ‘physics of organisms', and as major critic of neo-Darwinism and genetic engineering.
Dr Caroline Lucas (to come)
Dr. Eva Novotny, retired astrophysicist, read physics for an A.B. degree from Barnard College, Columbia University, New York and obtained a Ph.D. in astronomy from Columbia University; worked at several universities in Great Britain, lastly at the Institute of Astronomy of the University of Cambridge; Co-ordinator for GM Issues at Scientists for Global Responsibility for several years and continues occasionally to write for that web site; also an Associate of ISIS.
Dr. Pietro Perrino, Research Director of CNR at the Plant Genetic Institute in Bari, Italy, formerly Director of the Germplasm Institute of CNR (Gene Bank) (Bari, Italy, 1983-2002), FAO expert for gene banks in the Midle East (1978), Professor of Systematic Botany and Ecology (1992-1996). He is author of more than 300 scientific papers on safeguarding plant genetic resources.
Mr. Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology; author of Seeds of Deception , the world's best selling book on the health risks of GMOs, credited with motivating changes in legislation and consumer buying habits. His new book Genetic Roulette : The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods , highlights 65 adverse reactions and theoretical dangers of GM foods, shows why government assessments are not competent to identify most of the health dangers, and reveals how industry-funded research is often meticulously designed to avoid finding problems. He has lectured in 25 countries and has been quoted by government leaders and hundreds of media outlets across the globe including, The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC World Service, Nature, The Independent, Daily Telegraph, New Scientist, The Times, and Time Magazine. In 2007, he united leaders to support The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America , a revolutionary industry and consumer movement to remove GMOs from the natural food industry.
Dr. Christian Velot (to come)
Dr. Ermakova Irina Vladimirovna , B.Sc. and Ph.D. Biology, Moscow Univeristy, Chief Scientist at The Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology Russian Academy of Science, has 123 publications and participated in numerous international conferences, and has performed joint investigations with scientists in Czechoslovakia, UK, USA and Sweden.
Mr Janusz Wojciechowski, MEP,Vice Chairman of Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development; Member of the Union for Europe of the Nations Group at the European Parliament; Master of Law at University of Lódz (1977); Member of Parliament of the Polish Republic (1993-1995; 2001-2004), and President of the Polish Supreme Chamber of Control (1995-2001).
ISIS Press Release 21/06/07
Scientists and MEPs for a GM free Europe
Independent scientists, MEPs, farmers and citizens united at the European Parliament condemning GMOs; the European Food Safety Authority to be sued
Scientists from six countries joined forces with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to call for a Europe wide and worldwide ban on growing GM crops at a special briefing in the European Parliament in Brussels on 12 June 2007.
The briefing, organized by ISIS, Third World Network and Green Network, and hosted by Janusz Wojciechowski, MEP, the vice-Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for the European Union, coincided with the publication of key scientific papers, GM Food Nightmare Unfolding in the Regulatory Sham (ISIS scientific publication)  and New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity (CRII-GEN)  on how national and international regulators have been ignoring damning evidence against the safety of GM food and feed while colluding with industry to manipulate scientific research to promote GM crops. The papers were presented at the briefing together with a comprehensive dossier containing more than 160 fully referenced articles from the Science in Society archives documenting the serious hazards ignored, the scientific fraud, the regulatory sham and violation of farmers' rights  ( GM Science: Hazards Ignored, Fraud, Regulatory Sham, and Violation of Farmers' Rights , ISIS CD Book, 2007).
All the MEPS who spoke on the panel thanked ISIS for bringing such crucial scientific input into the GM debate, a view overwhelmingly shared by other MEPs and members of the public who attended the briefing.
The paradox of the GM debate
Janusz Wojciechowski MEP , who chaired the briefing, referred to the paradox of rural development within the GM debate in the European Union (EU). Where conventional and organic crops are concerned, there are political moves to reduce the production of fruit and vegetables crops, but where GM crops are concerned there is pressure to increase production for consumers. He said, “For me, it is obvious that decisions on GMOs must be based on public opinion and I do my best, in that regard as one of the decision makers in the EU, to safeguard the health of citizens above all.”
Jill Evans, a Plaid Cymru MEP, and member of the Greens/European Free Alliance Group, picked up on the und ue influence of the pro-GM campaign in the EU: the anti-GM campaign had to work ten times harder to make their voices heard. She said, “ As an MEP my job is to listen to what my constituents in Wales say and represent their views in the EU. And it is clear that there is overwhelming opposition to GMOs in Wales. Our farming industry, food safety and environment are under threat from GM crops, food and feed. We must keep Wales GM-Free and have a European ban on GM crops.”
Opposition to GM crops started in Wales in the year 2000 when GM field trials in Pembrokeshire were abandoned due to pressure from 80 organic farmers, which attracted local press, and the interest of members of all political parties. The National Assembly in Wales had also voted against GM crops, but in 2001 the UK Government gave them the green light. It was then that the campaign group GM-Free Cymru was set up, and there have been no more plantings in Wales since.
Evans stressed that The National Assembly is proactive in the EU, and has joined GM free networks, but feel that the Welsh decision regarding GM crops, and liability arising from the contamination of native crops, should be taken in Wales by its own advisory committee, and not as is currently done, by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) in the UK. She said Wales is in favour of asserting its right to GM free zones in accordance with the wishes of the people of Wales, and supported by the scientific evidence presented at the briefing; and vowed to keep the GM-free agenda alive and well in Wales and in Europe.
Keep up the fight for a GM free Europe
Dr Caroline Lucas, Green MEP for South-East England, endorsed the firm stance of all the speakers on the panel, She said, “There is every reason why we need to keep up the fight to keep Europe GM-free, the tragedy is that it is such a relentless fight, despite not only the rapidly accumulating evidence in our favour and the enormous relevance of the precautionary principle, but also the overwhelming public opposition to GMOs.” Public opinion polls consistently show that 70 percent or more of consumers in Europe do not want to eat GM food, and more than 170 regions and 4500 other zones belong to the GMO Free European Regions set up in Florence in 2005.
Despite the national bans on GM in 11 European countries, the largely unaccountable European Commission, which lifted the de facto moratorium in 2003, has authorised at least 18 GM varieties for cultivation in the EU, with 12 more pending approval. The good news is that many national governments are sceptical, for example Bulgaria has adopted the GMO Act that is firmly based on the precautionary principle and Hungary states that the production of GM crops is not in its economic, environmental, health or social interests. Lucas was critical of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), supposed to offer independent and scientific expert evidence on the safety risk of GM products, but has failed in its task ever since it was set up in 2002 .
Lucas also criticised EFSA for colluding with biotech companies in giving liberal ‘positive opinions' to their applications for market release, and for its reluctance to commission or conduct independent studies, and acceptance of ‘substantial equivalence' in safety assessments even in cases of hybrids created from two or three GM lines. Finally the ‘commercially confidential' status of dossiers kept away from public scrutiny directly contravenes the provisions of the Aarhus Convention (a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, or UNECE agreement linking the environment with human rights). She referred to the example of MON863 maize that was approved for food and feed solely on the data provided by Monsanto itself.
The aggressive campaign waged by the US, Canada and Argentina to force Europe to open its door to GM via the WTO ruling backfired when the WTO upheld Europe's right to protect itself from GMOs, Lucas reminded her audience, and reaffirmed the need for a clear system of liability when contamination occurs based firmly on the ‘polluter pays' principle.
GMOs “a crime against humanity”
Dr Mae-Wan Ho, director of ISIS , painted the big picture on why the world needs to be GM-Free. Her main message was: “ GMOs are not only hazardous for health and bad for the environment, they will severely damage our chances of surviving global warming. GM crops need more fossil fuel and water to grow, both of which are fast diminishing. Europe cannot afford to waste any more time and resources on GMOs, we must start investing in sustainable food and energy systems now.”
After 30 years of GMOs, there has been no yield increase, no reduction in pesticide use , while the continuing forest depletion for GM crops now includes those for producing biofuels. Most of all, 100 000 farmers have killed themselves in India between 1993 and 2003, coinciding with the introduction of GM crops, and a further 16 000 have died every year since then. Members of the audience gasped with approval at her explicit indictment against genetic modification: “GMOs are a crime against humanity.” Nevertheless, she was encouraged by the recent rulings against the legality of GM crops in the United States, and a string of bans imposed in many countries around the world over the past year  ( No to GMOs, No to GM Science , SiS 35).
GM soybean nightmare for rats
Dr. Irina Ermakova of the Russian Acad emy of Sciences s aid she started her experiments some years ago, when she heard many positive reports about GM crops from around the world , but almost none on any negative effects. Not until she came across the Statement by World Scientists on ISIS website ( http://www.i-sis.org.uk/list.php ), which highlighted the dangers. She was shocked to find that GM crops were harmful to butterflies and other pollinating insects, so she decided to do some experiments on mammals to investigate the health effects of GM soybeans. The significant difference between her experiments and those of the biotechnology companies was that she used female rats before, during and after pregnancy over five generations.
Ermakova said, “So many things went wrong for rats fed genetically modified soybeans. They became more anxious and aggressive, there was a high mortality of rat pups born to the females in the first generation, disturbances of reproductive functions and pathological changes in the internal organs of males and females.”
She showed her audience abundant unsettling photographic evidence of the malformed, stunted, diseased (including some with cancerous lesions) and dead pups, whose mothers had all been fed Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybeans. The stunned audience was in no doubt that something did go horribly wrong, and that an urgent ban on the sale of the GM soya should be imposed rather than the permissive, turning a blind-eye attitude taking by EFSA and other government regulators.
Company research results do not stand up to independent science scrutiny
Dr Christian Velot, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics at the University of South Paris, France, said: “Practically all the studies finding “no effect” of GM food and feed are done by companies seeking market approval or funded by them. This research simply does not stand up to independent scientific scrutiny, and regulators are putting people at serious health risks by accepting such research results.” That was why he joined other French scientists to establish the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRII-GEN, France) since June 2005.
The CRII-GEN scientists have made it their business to scrutinise research done by companies to obtain market approval of GM food and feed. They found signs of liver and kidney toxicity in rats fed Monsanto's MON 863 GM maize that have been ignored by both the company and the EFSA [2, 5] ( GM Maize MON 863 Toxic , SiS 34) . The CRII-GEN scientists have now analysed yet another feeding study involving Mons anto GM maize, NK603. The company's own results found 60 significant differences between the rats that were fed the GM maize and those fed non-GM maize, in their kidney, brain, heart and liver, as well as body weight . But these differences were ignored and the maize given market approval in the EU in 2004. Velot reasserted the need for science in society to fight against industry that “treats the consumer as the lab rat and the planet as the lab bench.”
Taking the EFSA to court over GMOs
Urs Hans, an organic farmer from Switzerland and an activist against GM had news for the EFSA. He represents an international coalition of NGOs, farmers associations, lawyers, legal and scientific academics, professors, scientists, journalists, film directors, church groups, etc. from Germany, Austria and Switzerland that intends to mount “comprehensive litigations” against the deployment of GMOs in Europe. Among its targets are the EFSA and other European regulatory bodies, on the grounds that their support of the pro-GM lobby is illegal and a breach of food security. The coalition includes Greenpeace Germany and leading representatives of Greenpeace Europe, senior politicians in Austria, and a high profile German Constitutional Law professor in Munich. The leading German legal think tank, the Tubingen Institute for Nature Protection and Nature Protection Law, has given the coalition an overview of possible legal strategies, and the lawsuits are represented by a leading German law firm in Hamburg specialising in genetic engineering law. So watch this space, and if you would like to get involved, log onto one or the other of Hans' website: www.publiceyeonscience.ch ; www.bauernverstand.ch .
Hans trained as an agriculturalist in Canada, and then managed his own farm. It was then that he noticed that the organophosphates recommended by the regional government for the treatment of parasites made his animals ill. During the BSE crises organophosphates were strictly imposed on farmers whether their cows were infected or not. Hans felt he was being forced to use chemical substances to support the economic interests of the regional government. He made a decision to stop using organophosphates and was prosecuted three times for his refusal, but he won every case.
Hans sees GM crops forced upon farmers and consumers along the same economic and technological imperative of the intensive chemical agriculture that forced him to use organophosphates. In the end, it's the farmer who pays for this imperative with his health, the health of his animals, spiralling debt for inputs that he cannot afford, and the loss of livelihood. He was inspired to leave his farm to come to the briefing in Brussels to hear sound scientific evidence to support the case against the EFSA, and he was very satisfied with what he has heard.
Honeybees harmed by biopesticides in Bt crops
Joe Cummins, Emeritus Professor in Genetics from University of Western Ontario, Canada, a veteran campaigner against corruption in science on behalf of society and the environment, has led the fight against GM science in ISIS ever since ISIS began in 1999.
The collapse of honeybee colonies worldwide are almost certainly a combination of different factors, the most important among them are sub-lethal levels of insecticides, in particular, a class of new systemic neonicotinoid pesticides widely used to dress seeds and in sprays on crops, and microwave radiation from wireless telephone transmitters and base stations. There has been a suggestion that single-celled fungi, such as Nosema , could be the main culprit  ( Parasitic Fungus and Honeybee Decline , SiS 35) .
However, Cummins presented a convincing hypothesis that sub-lethal levels of pesticides, including the Bt biopesticides produced in GM crops covering some 30 percent of the global area, could be acting synergistically with Nosema in murdering bees. Nosema and other parasitic fungi are also widely used as biological control agents against insect pests  ( Parasitic Fungi and Pesticides Act Synergistically to Kill Honeybees? SiS 35).
Cummins said, “The honeybee is a major pollinator of our food crops, and its demise is a dire warning that the extinction of the human species is not far behind.” What can we do to save the honeybee? Joe concluded with three succinct points for the future survival of humanity: the first one is to eliminate systemic nicotinoid pesticides, the second is to eliminate Bt crops. He raised a hearty laugh with his third, and his favourite, suggestion: replacing all the bureaucrats that turn a blind eye to the plight of nature in favour of the biotech and the agrochemical industry.
Hiltrud Breyer, MEP from Strasbourg intervened from the audience and wanted to know what could be done in Europe to save the bees. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho suggested that an emergency motion should be put forward to the European Commission along the lines laid out by Cummins.
Genetic engineering is a “global weapon of mass destruction”
Dr Zbigniew Halat, President of the Association for Protection of Consumer Health in Poland, a medical doctor, and an ex deputy Health Minister for Poland, said: “I believe that the problems caused by genetic engineering are global. It is the proliferation of a kind of biological weapon of mass destruction.” Halat criticized the threshold for contamination of native crops by GM crops of 0.9 percent, or even 0.1 percent as nonsense. He cautioned that even a tiny molecule could cause an anaphylactic (toxic shock) reaction and could kill someone who is allergic.
He believes there is a causal link between GM contamination and the rising allergy rate that has doubled in 10 years. He argued that studies of local incidences of allergic reactions to GM maize crops in the Philippines by Professor Terje Traavik of Genk in University of Tromsř, Norway  ( GM Ban Long Overdue , SiS 29) have provided us with the empirical evidence against GM crops. Furthermore, as GM foods have not been medically proven as safe, it is important that we keep using opinion polls to assess public support for them and epidemiological studies to assess their safety.
He even suspects a relationship between GMOs and the rising cancer rates, antibiotic resistance, and the obesity epidemic. From a medical point of view, he said, we can't wait for outcomes of sickness and deaths from GMOs, we must have proof that GM food and feed is healthy and safe. Finally, we must be aware of the ethical issues around genetic engineering and that it is not job of producers, but of the public authorities to protect our health from diseases.
The world's genetic resources threatened by GM genebanks robbers
Dr Pietro Perrino from the Institute of Plant Genetics in Bari, Italy, tells a sorry tale of the destruction of seeds and germplasm held in genebanks throughout the world subsequent to the rise of genetic engineering. On the one hand, genetic engineers have ruthlessly plundered the seeds and germplasm held in the genebanks for genes, DNA sequences and varieties which they patent in acts of biopiracy. On the other and, they are colluding in the destruction of the genebanks themselves [9, 10] ( SOS: Save Our Seeds , Italy's Genebank At Risk , SiS 27).
Perrino explained how genebanks came about through the need to collect, conserve and protect crop diversity because of the genetic erosion caused by industry-led agricultural revolutions that attempted to increase crop yields from monoculture crops of a few species. In the past forty years 1 400 genebanks have been created to compensate for the negative effects of the “Green Revolution.” However, the second generation of the “Gene Revolution” where new varieties can be made by taking the genes from any organism: animal, fungus, plant, microbe or virus to create new plants, are a direct threat to the larger indigenous genetic bases.
Pietro said, “We urgently need to protect the genebanks as they may soon be the only source of uncontaminated seed stocks in the world. This may be why the biotech industry and their supporters are so keen to see them destroyed after they've sequenced the genomes and patented the genes.” Furthermore he called upon the regulators of in-situ plant conservation, organic farmers, natural reserves, and nature conservation organisations to fight what he calls the “genebanks robbers”, the genetic engineers who seek to replace genebanks with DNA biobanks filled with synthetic plant resources that are not only useless, but are also dangerous for biodiversity, and for the health of living organisms, including human beings.
USDA approves GM under pressure from Monsanto
Journalist and author Jeffrey Smith and executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology; began his talk with, “I am from the US, so I want to apologise for GM at least.” He then slammed the US Food and Drug Administration who say that no testing whatsoever is necessary on GM food. This, he claims, is a lie perpetrated by Monsanto, which has infiltrated the FDA. Who, he asks, has overruled the scientists worried about toxins? Evidence gathered from thirty scientists over three years from his latest book, GM Roulette  documents no less than sixty-five health risks associated with the process of genetic engineering. Jeffrey argues that the main possible cause of health problems is related to DNA mutations within synthetic genes that create changes within the genome. He also points out that industry's claims of safety of the bt toxin used in GM corn and GM cotton crops are a fallacy and they that have caused thousands of allergic reactions around the world, as well as sterility and unexplained death in humans and livestock. The fundamental assumption made by industry that GM crops and pesticides are safe must be overturned.
GM production is a trap
Mr Wojciechowski closed the meeting with the warning that the expansion of GM production is a trap. And, as a European Parliamentarian, he thanked all the experts who spoke to the meeting for their knowledge. It is a challenge for European Parliamentarians to make their activity against GM more intensive. The first opportunity will be the question raised by MEPs on risk assessment of the EFSA, which will restart the debate over the dangers of GMOs, he said.
Enthusiastic discussions followed for nearly an hour after the official end of the conference, and carried on in the European Parliament cafeteria, where Mr. Wojciechowski kindly treated the speakers and friends of ISIS to lunch.
Smith J M. Genetic Roulette, The documented health risks of genetically engineered foods . Yes! Books, Fairfield, Iowa, 2007.
according to mainstream science of medical epidemiology.
GM feed was found to affect the health of animals that eat it. GM DNA from soy was detected in the blood, organs, and milk of goats. An enzyme, lactic dehydrogenase, was found at significantly raised levels in the heart, muscle, and kidneys of young goats fed GM soy.117 This enzyme leaks from damaged cells during immune reactions or injury, so high levels may indicate such problems.
Tudisco R, Mastellone V, Cutrignelli MI, et al. Fate of transgenic DNA and evaluation of metabolic effects in goats fed genetically modified soybean and in their offsprings. Animal. 2010; 4: 1662–1671
|The fact that gene transfer can
take place in the gut was backed up by
another trial with sheep eating GM maize, which again found that some
of the genetic material remained in the gut after ingestion, and was
transferred to gut bacteria. Fate
of genetically modified maize DNA in
the oral cavity and rumen of sheep. Duggan P.S.
et al. Br J Nutr., 89:
Sheep fed Bt insecticide-producing GM maize over three generations showed disturbances in the functioning of the digestive system of ewes and in the liver and pancreas of their lambs. A three-year longitudinal study on the effects of a diet containing genetically modified Bt176 maize on the health status and performance of sheep. Trabalza-Marinucci M. et al. Livestock Science, 113: 178-190, 2008.