Gene corn poisons rats

Scientists and Greenpeace call for better risk-taking for gene food

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The potential health risk of genetically modified maize has been confirmed by a new study by independent French scientists. The GM maize MON863 from Monsanto, approved since January 2006 for import into the European Union as food and feed, produces an insecticide against pests. In the MON863 feeding trial with rats, the animals exhibited symptoms of poisoning and damage to the liver and kidneys, according to Greenpeace.


The complete evaluation of the feeding trial of the independent expert group CRIIGEN (Committee for Independent Research and Genetic Engineering) will be published online in the next few days in the US scientific journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. For the first time, according to the environmental protection organization, this indicates a health risk for an already approved gene plant.

MON863 is approved for cultivation in the US and Canada, and has been approved for food and feed in the European Union, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines and Taiwan. The genetic modification is intended to combat the harmful corn rootworm. MON863 also contains a resistance gene for antibiotics.

Deficiencies in the statistical evaluation

Monsanto tried, according to Greenpeace to prevent the data from the feeding experiments of December 2002 are published. It was not until June 2005 that Greenpeace was able to force the disclosure of the risk review submitted for European market approval by court order. Subsequently, the more than 1, 000-page study by CRIIGEN was evaluated. display

"There are significant shortcomings in the statistical analysis of the study as presented by Monsanto, " says Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen, who heads the French research team CRIIGEN. "In addition to the damage to the liver and kidneys, the weight changes of the animals were not sufficiently investigated. Other important data, for example on changes in the urine of animals, Monsanto was under the table


Genmais not sure?

CRIIGEN concludes its investigation report by stating that, according to the available data, GM maize can not be assessed as safe. Despite years of discussion about MON863, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the national regulatory authorities, including the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, have so far maintained their existing approval.

"The MON863 case exemplifies the failure of national and European GM food safety controls, " says Christoph Then, Greenpeace genetic engineering expert. "If the security checks at the airport were similarly sloppily organized, a bomb could be carried in hand luggage on every flight. Monsanto uses the weaknesses of the system specifically to bring its product to the market. In Germany, consumer minister Horst Seehofer must finally stop cultivating GM seeds and importing GM foods. "

(Greenpeace, 14.03.2007 - DLO)