domingo, junio 16, 2013

Vital Link article on health hazards of genetically modified foods

Dear friends and colleagues,

Re: Don’t Look, Don’t Find: Health Hazards of Genetically Modified Food
A peer-reviewed article on the health hazards of genetically modified foods has recently been published in Vital Link, the journal of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (
The article underscores the inherently imprecise nature of the genetic engineering process, which can cause disruption to the genome. This can lead and has in some cases led to unintended and serious effects. It tackles the hard issues concerning the safety of GM foods. The key points are as follows:
Morbidity & Mortality Findings in Animal Feeding Studies
* The study of Seralini et al. (2012), which is the most thorough study to be carried out on a GM food to date, found alarming health impacts such as severe organ damage, tumors and premature death in rats fed with GM maize sprayed and not sprayed with the herbicide Round-up (glyphosate).
* A review of 19 animal feeding studies with GM crops concluded that they can cause toxic effects and may alter hematological, biochemical, and immunologic parameters. 
Questionable Claims of the Safety of Insect and Herbicide-Resistant GM Crops
* Claims by industry that Bt toxins would be harmlessly broken down in the digestive tract were debunked by a Canadian study in 2010 which found Bt toxin protein in the blood of pregnant women and in the blood supply to their fetuses. Bt proteins can potentially trigger allergies as well as auto-immune and other chronic diseases. The article cites other studies showing allergic and inflammatory responses in rats fed with Bt corn and swelling in the gut in those fed with Bt potato.
* Herbicide-tolerant GM crops comprise about 83% of the world’s GM crop coverage. ‘Roundup Ready’ soy genetically engineered to be resistant to Round-up (glyphosate) will necessarily contain elevated levels of the herbicide. Glyphosate has been linked in laboratory and epidemiological studies and clinical reports to serious health effects, including endocrine disruption, DNA damage, birth defects, cancer, and neurological disorders.
Weak Regulatory System
Seralini et al.’s two-year study showed that industry and regulatory claims of biological irrelevance of effects found in 90-day tests are invalid. Rat feeding studies typically performed in support of regulatory authorizations for GMOs last for a maximum of 90 days.Such studies are designed and conducted by the same companies who market the GMOs in question. The article stresses the American Academy of Environmental Medicine’s (AAEM) conclusion that GM foods have not been properly tested for human consumption and that animal studies offer “ample evidence of probable harm”.
GM-Free Diets for Health
The article cites case studies where people in the US have reported improvements in their health just by eliminating GMOs from their diets. Symptoms that have reportedly disappeared include gastrointestinal disorders, food intolerances and allergies, immune responses, and asthma. Farmers have similarly reported improved health in their livestock after switching to non-GM feed. The article supports the AAEM’s recommendation that physicians prescribe a GM-free diet to patients and encourages the consumption of organic food for health and safety. 

The article can be downloaded from: [Citation: Robinson, C (2103) Don't look, don't find: Health hazards of genetically modified food. CAND Vital Link, Volume 20(1): 17-24.]

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