Study linking genetically modified corn to cancer leads French government to call for investigation
By End the Lie
To those who are familiar with genetically modified (GM) crops, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or genetically engineered (GE) crops, it probably isn’t all that surprising to learn that a study linked GM corn to cancer.
This is especially true when one looks at the many dangers associated with the various GM crops as established by rigorous scientific research.
Members of the French government stated on September 19, 2012 that they asked the National Agency for Health Safety (ANSES) to investigate the findings of the study which linked cancer in rats to genetically modified corn.
The most exciting aspect of this is that, according to a joint statement issued by Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll, Ecology Minister Delphine Batho and Health and Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine, it could very well lead to a suspension of the use of GM corn in the European Union.
Meanwhile, in the United States, an amendment blocked the ability for states to demand the labeling of GMOs and Monsanto actually threatened to sue the entire state of Vermont for pursuing GMO labeling initiatives.
“Depending on ANSES’ opinion, the government will urge the European authorities to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health,” Le Foll, Batho and Touraine said in a joint statement according to AFP.
“[The measures] could go as far as invoking emergency suspension of imports of NK603 corn to Europe pending a re-examination of this product on the basis of enhanced assessment method,” they added.
The study being referred to was carried out by French scientists at the University of Caen in Normandy led by Gilles-Eric Seralini and published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
In the study the researchers fed rats NK603 corn, which is Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn, the same corn which has been linked to other horrific health effects (see above-linked articles).
Keep in mind, “Roundup Ready” means that the corn can actually absorb the otherwise deadly toxin and still live while the surrounding non-Roundup Ready plants die.
The scientists found that when rats were fed with NK603 corn or exposed to Roundup, the herbicide used with NK603 corn, they developed tumors.
GM crops and Monsanto crops specifically are grown around the world with large concentrations in North America, especially the United States along with Brazil, China and India, while GMOs continue to be a contentious issue in Europe.
Farmers in some countries are fighting back, including dozens of Argentinean farmers who banded together in order to sue Monsanto and the tobacco companies and hopefully this study will provide them with additional support in their quest for justice.
This particular study was the first to observe rats over the entire period of their normal lifespan of two years and thus the first to investigate the impact of exposure to GMOs over the long term.
“For the first time ever, a GM organism and a herbicide have been evaluated for their long-term impact on health, and more thoroughly than by governments or the industry,” Seralini told AFP. “The results are alarming.”
The study utilized two hundred male and female rats split into 10 groups of 10 rats with one control group given regular rat foot containing 33% non-GM corn and water.
Three groups were given regular rat food and water with varying doses of Roundup which reflected the concentrations of the herbicide found in various levels of the food chain.
The remaining six groups were fed rat food containing 11, 22 or 33% NK603 corn some of which was treated with Roundup while being grown.
One of the more troubling findings of the study was that NK603 and Roundup both resulted in similar damage to the health of the rats regardless of if they were consumed together or separately.
Premature deaths and various illnesses were especially prevalent among female rats which began to show tumor growth in 10-30% of the treated female rats at the 14th month of the experiment.
“By the beginning of the 24th month, 50-80 percent of female animals had developed tumors in all treated groups, with up to three tumors per animal, whereas only 30 percent of controls were affected,” the study stated.
Male rats suffered from digestive problems, liver damage and the development of kidney and skin tumors.
According to AFP, the researchers allowed a selected group of reporters to have access to the study before publication so long as they signed a confidentiality agreement preventing them from consulting other experts about the research before it was published.
The French unit of Monsanto wouldn’t give any detailed comments because they said they haven’t evaluated the paper yet.
“It is too soon to make a serious comment because we have to evaluate the study. As soon as it is available, our experts will look closely at it to give their scientific assessment,” they stated.
However, Monsanto is likely optimistic about being able to marginalize or minimize the study since they claim that “more than 300 peer-reviewed studies” have found that GM food was safe.
While the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) determined in 2009 that NK603 was “as safe as conventional maize,” NK603 can only be imported into the European Union and cannot actually be grown in Europe.
“Maize NK603 and derived products are unlikely to have any adverse effect on human and animal health in the context of the intended uses,” the EFSA panel said based partly on a 90-day feeding study on rats.
While NK603 cannot be grown in Europe, Monsanto’s MON810 transgenic corn and Amflora, a GM potato made by BASF, are actually allowed.
Nonetheless, many individual countries including Austria, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg and Romania have outlawed the growing of MON810 on their national soil.
Hopefully the United States and other Western nations will begin to pay attention and start more intensely scrutinizing GMOs and their effects. After all, we’re not talking about a problem which could be easily reversed or mitigated once it has really taken root, no pun intended.
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