Studies cast doubt on GMO food

Patricia Michl

A guest columnist too hastily promoted GMO crops in an op-ed piece published last year.

He wrongly discredits the Giles-Eric Seralini study. He states that the Seralini study was retracted in November 2013 by “Food and Chemical Toxicology,” but he omits the fact that the study was republished in the “Journal of Environmental Sciences Europe” Vol 26:14 in June 2014.

Respected scientists worldwide had raised a furor over this wrongful retraction. Therefore, the Seralini study is properly citable for the proposition that GMOs are likely harmful to human health.

In fact, the Seralini study is one of the very few lifetime GMO feeding trials; it stands as the gold standard for showing the correlation between GMOs and cancer, tumors and organ damage.

The guest columnist also criticizes Seralini’s use of Sprague-Dawley rats. Why Sprague-Dawleys? This strain of rats is standard to health and safety studies due to its high susceptibility to tumors.

Researchers can obtain results in a relatively short period of time. It should be noted that Monsanto also utilizes Sprague-Dawleys in its GMO studies. However, Monsanto’s studies end after 3 months. But the human population is expected to eat GMOs for a lifetime.

By contrast, the Seralini study lasted for the lifetime of the rats. The significance of the Seralini study is that even a small group of rats, those fed GMOs, exhibited an alarming number of tumors, lesions and organ abnormalities.

However, the control group, not fed GMOs, had far fewer problems.

The columnist cites GMO safety statements from several governmental organizations. However, government organizations that have approved GMOs are aligned with Big-Ag (Monsanto and other biotech companies).

Government is widely viewed by growing numbers of citizens as no friend of the people. An appropriate analogy would be the close alignment between Big-Pharma and U.S. health authorities (NIH, CDC, FDA, etc.) in suppressing alternative cancer therapies.

The columnist cites two papers by Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam. The first examines the feeding of GMO crops to food-producing animals. It considers feed intake, growth and other livestock production parameters — basically, weight gain and readiness for market. These “production parameters” are irrelevant to the presence of tumors and other organ-related disorders which can only be detected through autopsies.

In her second paper Dr. Van Eenennaam states that feeding GMOs to livestock animals does not adversely affect their health. But these are commercial animals that are killed in early adulthood. She does not know about their health later in life on a GMO diet. This is where the Seralini lifetime feeding study is so cogent. It reveals the problems with a GMO diet late in life.

Furthermore, the Dr. Judy A. Carman study found massive stomach inflammation in commercial pigs fed a GMO diet by examining their stomachs on autopsy after slaughter (“Journal of Organic Systems,” Vol 8, No 1. 2013).

It should also be noted that GMO research results from any university accepting bio-corporate money are suspect. Corporations with a stake in biotechnology pour copious amounts of money into university programs.

With millions of dollars at stake, academia that accepts agri-business money cannot be trusted to deliver valid, truthful and unbiased findings.

The columnist correctly states that the anti-GMO information is voluminous. Unfortunately, he neglects to cite any of these studies. I will do so here. Residues of glyphosate are found in GMO soy (“Food Chemistry,” Vol 153 pp. 207-215. 2014, T. Bohn et al.). Glyphosate residues are found in humans and animals (“Environmental and Analytical Toxicology,” Vol 4, Issue 2. 2014, Monika Kruger et al.). Residues of glyphosate harm human gut bacteria and suppress the cytochrome P450 pathway (“Entropy Journal,” Vol 15 (1) 2013, Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff). Huge increase in chronic diseases in the U.S. parallels the advent and use of GMO crops (“Journal of Organic Systems,” Vol 9 (2) 2014, Nancy L. Swanson et al.).

Had GMOs appeared commercially in earlier decades when the dangers of DDT were exposed GMOs would have suffered the same fate. They would have been banned. If a more thorough and transparent approach were applied to GMOs today, they might well be banned in the future.

Patricia Michl taught elementary school for 8 years in Ohio. She worked in family support as an attorney for 27 years in Washington. She is currently working part-time as a dryland wheat farmer near Waterville, Wash.

Recommended for you