A new study linking genetically-modified (GM) corn to sickness and death has created shock waves around the globe. The study revealed rats fed biologically altered maize succumbed to cancerous tumors.
Upon learning of the study the French government took immediate action and asked a health organization to investigate the findings fully. Pending the results of the investigators' report, France may request the European Union to suspend all sales and marketing of the GM product.
For years health activists have warned the public about the intrinsic dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how they can affect human and animal health.
The study, "Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize" conducted by eight researchers from the Institute of Biology at the University of Caen in France and the Department of Neurological, Neuropsychological, Morphological and Motor Sciences at the University of Verona in Italy, raises troubling questions about the long term safety of GM foods.
Some health experts also say the findings throw doubt on the claims made by various government agencies and the large biotech firms that GM foods are safe for animals. Some have even been approved for human consumption.
The paper was published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
Some medical scientists are unnerved by the findings that many find shocking. The lifetime trials made on a group of 200 rats raised and nurtured on GM corn led to outbreaks of significant kidney and liver damage, and the formation of malignant breast tumors.
An authority on GM foods, molecular biologist Dr. Michael Antoniou, told the UK's Daily Mail, "It shows an extraordinary number of tumors developing earlier and more aggressively—particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts."
Previous studies tend to confirm
Indications of GM food's adverse health affects have surfaced in earlier studies.
One study centered on an occurrence of mass deaths in sheep that had grazed on GM cotton. The study found the toxins in the modified cotton poisoned the sheep.
Another study compared the effects of three varieties of GM corn on mammalian health. The results were frightening.
While another study zeroed in on Monsanto's "GM Corn MON863" revealing kidney and liver damage in the subject animals, more disturbing was a finding that "Dangerous Toxins From Genetically Modified Corn [was] Found in [the] Blood of Women and Fetuses."
Monsanto challenged several of the studies. The company released the article, "Monsanto GM Sweet Corn: Debunking False Claims." But unfortunately, shortly after the article appeared on the Internet, the company's example of a biotech product that was proved to be safe went into full meltdown.
Syngenta, a biotech firm Monsanto pointed to as their example was charged with covering up animal deaths resulting from GM feed corn.Despite the pushback by some science publications and the industry itself, the mounting evidence from numerous independent studies seems to prove the contention of many health advocates that GM vegetables and fruits, embedded with toxins, can be deadly to animals and passed along the food chain to humans.
In what's grown to become an annual multi-billion dollar business, the biotech companies modify the genetic structure of the plants by re-engineering the DNA and mixing it with poisonous pesticides and herbicides in a bid to fend off hungry insects and incursions by weeds. Those chemicals are fed to a variety of livestock including dairy cows. Some pet foods even contain GMOs.
The French-Italian study focused on GM corn produced by biotech giant Monsanto. The commercially available corn had been engineered to protect itself from the herbicide Roundup, another Monsanto product. The toxin in question is glyphosate, one of Roundup's active ingredients.
According to the Daily Mail, the research team discovered that:
"Between 50 to 80 per cent of female rats developed large tumours by the beginning of the 24th month, with up to three tumours per animal. Only 30 per cent of the control rats developed tumours
"Up to 70 per cent of females died prematurely compared with only 20 per cent in the control group
"Tumors in rats of both sexes fed the GM corn were two to three times larger than in the control group
"The large tumours appeared in females after seven months, compared to 14 months in the control group. The team said the tumours were ‘deleterious to health due to a very large size’, making it difficult for the rats to breathe and causing digestive problems."
LiveScience.com labels French-Italian study 'bad science'
The science website LiveScience, part of the Discovery News group, charges that the study was skewed and came out of a "research lab, whose anti-GM studies have been harshly criticized in the past."
The publication quotes Martina Newell-McGloughlin, described as a plant biotechnologist at UC Davis: "There is very little scientific credibility to this paper. The flaws in the test are just incredible to me. To be totally honest with you, the type of statistical analysis they used is really a type of fishing expedition. One individual referred to it as ‘fantasy statistics.'"
Whether that particular study is merely a fantasy is open for debate. But study after study has tended to show the same disturbing trend.
Used on farms and ranches across North America, a new variety of the Monsanto GM corn is being sold through Wal-Mart with no labeling warning the consumer that it's a GMO, nor the products potentially deadly effect on health.