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New study confirms that GM food damages fertility
GM Free Cymru, 12 November 2008

Article from Organic Consumers Association

In a new Austrian study that will send shock waves through the corridors of power in the EU, and through the offices of the GM corporations, it has been discovered that GM corn has a damaging effect upon the reproductive system (1).

The work was done at the request of the Austrian Health Ministry, and the results were presented yesterday by Professor Jurgen Zentek and his team to an expert conference organized by the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety.  The work was done at the University of Vienna, using a GM maize hybrid line called NK603 x MON810, which has two copies of the RR gene in it, each copy with its own, different promoter sequence, as well as the MON810 gene.  In one of the very few long-term nutrition studies conducted so far with an approved GM product (2), it became apparent over a period of 20 weeks that the fertility of GM corn fed mice was seriously impaired, with fewer offspring than mice fed on non-GM equivalent material. In a multi-generational trial, mice fed with GM maize had fewer offspring in the third and fourth generations, and this difference was statistically significant. Mice fed with GM-free corn reproduced more rapidly.  In a series of carefully-controlled trials, it was also discovered that there was a statistically significant decrease in litter weight in the third and fourth litters of mice in the GM-fed group as compared to the control group.

Although the Austrian authorities have announced the findings in a somewhat cautious fashion, stressing the urgent need for "further studies", the implications of the work are immediate and far-reaching.  Speaking for GM Free Cymru, Dr Brian John said:  "This work will do huge damage to the GM industry worldwide, since it shows that a crop -- Monsanto's maize line NK603 x MON810 -- which has been approved as safe by EFSA, and given consent for use in food and feed by the EC, is in fact dangerous to health.  It demonstrates that the approvals process is at best inadequate and at worst corrupt.  This is what NGOs have been saying for years (3).  At the same time this work effectively confirms the findings of Irina Ermakova in 2005, who found that rats fed on a diet including GM soya produced offspring which were weak and which had a much higher mortality rate than rats fed on a non-GM diet (4).  She also found that when both male and female animals were fed on GM soy they becam e effectively sterile and produced no offspring.    Her work was heavily criticised in a despicable publishing scam by a GM industry which fully appreciated its importance (5).  However, there has always been a suspicion that ALL soya damages reproductive function (6).  That is why this new work -- based upon GM maize rather than GM soy --  is of such massive importance."

The Monsanto maize line MON863 has already been shown -- in the company's own experiments designed to mask health effects -- to damage the internal organs of animals in feeding trials (7).  This new evidence, from an EU government-sponsored study, shows that the standard mantra that "GM does not damage health" is shown to be a lie.  GM food and feed DOES damage health in a number of ways, as this and other reliable studies have shown over the past decade, beginning with Arpad Pusztai in 1998 (8).

GM Free Cymru has now written to Environment Secretary Hilary Benn challenging him to revise his recent statement (9) that "the scientific evidence clearly demonstrates the safety of GM foods."  The NGO has accused him -- and his advisory committees -- of promoting "a culture of complacency" relating to GM food safety, and of implying that the GM health debate is over and done with.  The letter (10) says: "You and your advisers have consistently shown a patronising and dismissive attitude towards independent researchers who have shown that animals fed on GM foods are harmed.  You have systematically ignored their results which show -- over and again -- that GM materials cause cellular and tissue damage.  Will you now revise your opinion that the GM / health debate is over, and demonstrate that you are prepared to  put the health of UK consumers above the commercial interests of the GM corporations?"

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