What's in the GM safety pipeline in 2015?
There are moves afoot to embark on some "highly ambitious" science regarding ongoing concerns about Roundup Ready maize, including the Roundup herbicide it's sprayed with and the active ingredient of Roundup, glyphosate.
GM-free Scotland has already reported Prof. Séralini's plans to extract more data from his controversial life-long rat GM feeding study by analysing the pesticide residues and physiological markers in stored tissue samples (see HOW MUCH DISEASE IS ROUNDUP CAUSING? - December 2014).
Now, it has emerged that an even bigger experiment will be underway soon.
The experiment, conceived by Russian scientists, will be conducted in Russia and Western Europe, and has already raised most the $25 million needed.
The Russian plan is to try to establish whether Roundup Ready maize and its associated herbicide cause cancers, reduce fertility, or cause birth defects, and also whether Roundup is more or less toxic than glyphosate. Thousands of rats will be tested over three years to collect objective and comprehensive data on long-term health effects.
Aware that GM safety has become a war between the biotech industry and the anti-GM movement, neither of these will have any input in the study. It is hoped that all the disagreements and distrust surrounding previous studies, such as animal choice, statistics applied, test duration, parameters measured, and vested interests in the outcomes, will be remedied.
On the related subject of damage to the agri-environment and farmers' bottom lines, Downing Street has just received a 'letter from America' warning Britain of the reality of intensive growing of GM crops. The letter has been signed by US environment groups representing over 50 million people as well as celebrities. Clearly the biotech industry promises of GM have not been fulfilled.
A concurrent decision to allow EU Member States to ban the growing of GM food crops for environmental reasons means, effectively, that only our regulators can force GM crops on Britain.
"There is a notable lack of published, peer-reviewed data on (GM food) safety, as well as data on the safety of the increased use of herbicides with which they are grown" (University of California biology Professor Bloomberg).
With two major studies of long-term GM health-effects just getting underway, a major warning of the risks to the environment and agriculture right under its nose, and an EU GM-crop get-out clause in place, UK regulators have every reason to pause their push into GM. TELL THEM TO STOP.
- John Vidal, Largest international study into safety of GM food launched by Russian NGO, the Guardian 11.11.14