GMO’s are not a new introduction, with the first products hitting supermarkets in 1994; we have been consuming them ever since. Does anyone else find it extraordinary that in all of these years, not a single study has been conducted to prove that they are safe for long-term human consumption?
Certainly, there have been studies done, though the vast majority of these studies are conducted on rats over 90 day periods, which in human terms is equivalent to 7-9 years. The question then becomes, what happens to the human body when we consume GMO products over the course of an entire lifetime?
To date, no one really knows.
One of the only significant studies to consider the long-term effects of GMO consumption was conducted by a French scientist named Seralini. If you have never heard of him, his research or his findings, you are not alone.
Although it is one of the most comprehensive GMO studies ever conducted, when it was first published in The Food and Chemical Toxicity Journal (FCT), it caused such controversy with governments and corporations worldwide that it was retracted within a year (it has since been republished in Europe). The editor of the FCT, Hayes, states “that the retraction is solely based on the ‘inconclusive’ nature of the findings on tumours and mortality,”[ii] which, according to the guidelines set out by the Commission on Publication Ethics, are not valid grounds for retraction.
“Witnessing the strong pressure made to get these research results withdrawn is shocking and contradictory with the principles of democratic science itself: anyone is entirely free to provide arguments against the study, within the frame of the normal democratic debate.”[iii]
The Seralini Study
Seralini designed his study as a direct follow up to Monsanto’s 90 day rat feeding trial on its product NK603 maize. Monsanto published the results of its test in 2004, concluding that its NK603 maize was safe for human consumption. The EFSA GMO panel went as far as to state, “maize NK603 is as safe as conventional maize. Maize NK603 and derived products are unlikely to have any adverse effect on human and animal health in the context of the intended uses.”
In many ways, the Seralini study was a copy of the Monsanto study (as he wanted to make them comparable), with a couple of exceptions:
- Seralini’s study was two years long whereas Monsanto’s study was 90 days,
- Seralini’s study was far more detailed and measured many health effects in order to separate the effects of the GM maize from the herbicide Roundup that it was designed to tolerate.
At the end of the two year study, Seralini and his team had reached a number of alarming conclusions. Perhaps the most poignant was that in a large majority of the rats, tumours were detected after 18 months, meaning that the current practice of performing a 90 day test to ensure safety was, in fact, not a good indicator of how these products would affect the long-term health of people. It was also concluded by Seralini and his team that “both GM maize NK603 and Roundup caused serious kidney and liver damage and an increased and earlier development of tumours, leading to an increased rate of mortality.”[iv]
Why no sober second look?
At the very least, rather than receiving a call to retract the findings, Seralini’s research should have prompted the scientific community, governments, and even Monsanto, to take a second look and perhaps conduct more extensive testing before subjecting millions of people to potentially unsafe food. That they didn’t and instead chose to disregard Seralini’s findings as if they never took place, with no attempt made at a normal democratic debate, should be enough to give conscious consumers reason to pause.
What can I do?
Until there are a number of objective, independent studies that prove that GMO’s are safe for consumption, I have chosen to eat organic foods only. They are a more expensive option, but don’t mind paying a bit more for peace of mind.
If you are interested in learning more about the Seralini Study, I suggest you check out his website:
Erin Douglas is a registered yoga instructor and a classically trained homeopath. Her life-long passion for healing has taken her all over the world from learning yogic philosophy and healing in India to studying Vipassana meditation in Northern Thailand with the Buddhist monks. She received her formal training in classical homeopathy at the renowned Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine in Toronto, Ontario, the first province in Canada to regulate homeopathy. She operates a complementary medicine healing clinic and every month, organizes seven and fourteen day spiritual yoga retreats and adventures in Waikiki, Hawaii. For more information on joining an upcoming Hawaiian Adventure Yoga Retreat or to book a homeopathic or nutritional consultation, feel free to check out her website or send an email.
[i] Seralini, Seralini study retraction intended to shut down possibility of long-term GMO tests forever, January 21, 2014 http://www.gmoseralini.org/seralini-study-retraction-intended-to-shut-down-possibility-of-long-term-gmo-tests-forever/
[iii]Dr. Bruno Bordenave, Botanist, Phd, MSc, October 17, 2012 http://www.gmoseralini.org/category/scientists-support-seralini/
[iv] Séralini GE, Clair E, Mesnage R, et al. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. European Sciences Europe http://www.enveurope.com/content/26/1/14