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Health Risks of Genetically Modified Food

Romeo F. Quijano, M.D.
 Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine, Univ. of the Phils. Manila  President, Health Action for Human Rights  Board Member, Institute for Occupational Safety, Health and Development  Member, Phil Society Clinical & Occupational Toxicology  Former Co-chair, International POPs Elimination Network  Member, Steering Council, Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific

Industry claims Bt:
• Has a history of safe use • Is destroyed during digestion • Is not active in mammals

In reality •People react to Bt spray • Bt survives digestion •Mice react to Bt-toxin .

Bt toxin in GM crops Thousands of times more concentrated than the spray Designed to be more toxic Has properties of a known allergen .

GM-fed animals had problems with their growth. inflammation in lung tissue. excessive cell growth. including among the offspring.Adverse Health Effects of GMOs Key assumptions used as the basis for safety claims have been overturned and several adverse findings show that GM foods are unsafe. as well as damaged organs (bleeding stomachs. . blood and liver cell formation. organ development and immune responsiveness. sterility problems and increased death rates.

First GM Crop FlavrSavr Tomato .

Rats refused to eat the tomato Yuk! .

After 28 days Industry study of 20 rats developed stomach lesions nother 7 of 40 died within 2 weeks .

” FDA Toxicology Group . accidental changes in genetically engineered plants justifies a limited traditional toxicological study. GM plants could “contain unexpected high concentrations of plant toxicants.”  “The possibility of unexpected.

USFDA scientists warned of: Allergens Toxins New diseases Nutritional problems .

” “There is no certainty that [breeders] will be able to pick up effects that might not be obvious. But time and time again. namely that there are no unintended effects that will raise the FDA’s level of concern. there is no data to back up their contention.“There is a profound difference between the types of unexpected effects from traditional breeding and genetic engineering.” “This is the industry’s pet idea.” FDA microbiologist Louis Pribyl .

2. not previously identified” toxins.” They recommended testing every GM food “before it enters the marketplace.” Division of Food Chemistry and Technology . and 4. “Undesirable alterations in the levels of nutrients. “Increased levels of known naturally occurring toxins”. 3.1. Increased tendency to gather “toxic substances from the environment” such as “pesticides or heavy metals”. “Appearance of new.

” “Statement of Policy” May 29. 1992 Food and Drug Administration .FDA declares GMOs no different “The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.

Who overruled the scientists? Michael Taylor • In charge of FDA policy • Former Monsanto attorney • Later Monsanto vice president .

1999 & others .GM potatoes damaged rats (10 or 110 days) Rats developed • Potentially pre-cancerous cell growth in the digestive tract • Smaller brains. and • Immune system damage Lancet. livers and testicles • Partial atrophy of the liver.

A. W. Pusztai. heart. Ewen. and Non-GM • Immune system damage S.Intestinal Wall  1998: Arpad Puzstai’s study on GM Potatoes – change in organs (liver. brain) of rats & immune systems-CaMV promoter effect?? • Potentially pre-cancerous cell growth in the digestive tract Non-GM GM • Smaller brains. 1999: “Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine” Lancet 354(9187):1353 GM . livers and testicles Stomach lining • Partial atrophy of the liver.

2005: “An Investigation report on Impact of Bt Cotton on farmers’ health”]  2007: Dr Manvir Gupta’s pilot study in Punjab . Skin allergies reported by farmers and agriculture workers while working in cotton fields during boll burst stage  2005: Bt Cotton in India – human allergies [Ashish Gupta. Ashish Mandloi & Amulya Nidhi.

Soon after GM soy was introduced into the UK. soy allergies skyrocketed by 50%. York Laboratory .

mainly allergic type.Health hazards…contd. 1998. Physiological.Tutelian. The Journal of Medicinal Food.R. resistant to the Colorado beetle (under agreement with Monsanto Co.)”. Signed off by V.]  1999: Journal of Medicinal Food – beneficial phytoestrogen compounds lower in GE soybeans – 12-14% lower [Marc Lappe. 1999: “Alterations in Clinically Important Phytoestrogens in Genetically Modified. Deputy Director. Britt Bailey. Moscow. pps. biochemical and morphological investigations in rats. Chandra Childress. Kenneth D. Full Report 275 pp. Institute of Nutrition. E. 241-245]  2001: Starlink Corn contamination(US) – thousands reported adverse reactions.  1998: Monsanto & Russian Academy of Medical Sciences – GM Potatoes – higher organ & tissue damage: “Not safe to be used in the nourishment of people” *“Medical-biological investigations of transgenic potatoes. Cost of recall:one billion dollars .A. 1:4. Setchell. Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. including raw data. Herbicide-Tolerant Soybeans”. Vol.

l Contamination & Toxicology. No 4 ] . 2004: “Bt-maize (corn) during pollination.  2003: Terje Traavik – Filipinos & allergies (skin.htm]  2004: Nature biotechnology – only human feeding trial of GM crops – gene transfer from GM soy to human gut bacteria! *Netherwood et al. Archives of 52. Vol.Health hazards…. “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract. http://www. respiratory. with fever) – pollination of Bt corn field – blood tests showed an immune response *Terje Traavik & Jeffrey Smith.mindfully. 2007: New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity. may trigger disease in people living near the cornfield”.” Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2]  2005: Monsanto – Bt Maize – kidney abnormalities & high WBC levels [Seralini et al. intestinal.

“The Andhra Pradesh government has advised farmers not to allow animals to graze on Bt cotton fields after four institutes reported the presence of toxins in them. 17 June 2007 .” The Hindustan Times.

reports… 12 cows died on a German farm .Bt corn.

reports… Farmers say pigs and cows became sterile Inhaled pollen may have caused illness .Bt corn.

Rats ate Bt corn (90 days) Indicators for Liver and kidney toxicity Blood pressure problems. higher blood sugar and anemia Monsanto study . infections or disease. allergies.

misshapen nuclei in liver cells of rats – dramatic reduction in enzyme production in pancreas – cells in liver." The Journal of Nutrition. Gavaudan S. which can also block nutrient assimilation Stephen R. 126. Serafini S. 27: 173-180. Caporaloni C. "The Composition of Glyphosate-Tolerant Soybean Seeds Is Equivalent to That of Conventional Soybeans. Cell Struct Funct. No. et al. Padgette et al. (2002): “Ultrastructural analysis of pancreatic acinar cells from mice fed on genetically modified soybean”. Gazzanelli G. Volume 201 Issue 5 Page 409  Cooked GM soy is reported to contain twice the amount of soy lectin. vol. Manuela Malatesta.Health hazards…  2005: University of Urbino . Journal of Anatomy. (2002): “Ultrastructural morphometrical and immunocytochemical analyses of hepatocyte nuclei from mice fed on genetically modified soybean”. 4 . pancreas and testes affected Malatesta M. 1996:. Rocchi MB. Tiberi C.

Mice fed GM soy Liver  Cells damaged  Altered gene expression  Higher metabolic activity (suggesting toxic insult) Cell Structure and Function. 2002 .

Mice livers Hepatocyte Nuclei Control GM-fed .

Rat Livers А. Irina Ermakova . D – GM-soy group B D Dr. B – control group A C C.

Mice fed GM soy Testicular cells had altered European Journal of Histochemistry. 2004 structure and function .

Rat testicles Control GM soy fed Control GM-soy .

in their histological and cell structures. in this Russian study . On top is a mouse fed with GM soya and at the bottom is one fed with non-GM soya. GM-soy also is found to impact the size of litters. and the mortality of the young. induced serious changes in the morphology of viscera (liver. 2007: study done by Vavilov's Agrarian University in Russia: RoundUp Ready soy approved for human consumption in the Russian Federation and in many other countries. kidney. testis) of mice.

Rabbits Fed Roundup Ready Soy (For 40 days)  Increased cell metabolism  Changed enzyme levels in the kidneys. hearts and livers Animal Science. 2006 .

Chickens fed Liberty Link corn died at twice the rate Industry study .

Adverse Health Effects of GMOs Birth Defects and Shorter Life Spans .As we ingest transgenic human/ animal products there is no real telling of the impact on human evolution. . that rBGh in cows causes a rapid increase in birth defects and shorter life spans. for example. We know.

2006.8%) from the non-soy controls. October 10. Institute for Applied Ecology. "Influence of genetically modified soya on the birth-weight and survival of rat pups" In Proceedings of the Conference Epigenetics. pp. also.6%) rats from the GM soy group died compared to only 3 of 33 (9%) from the non-GM soy group and 3 of 44 (6. On the right is a 20-day old rat from GM soy-fed study group and at left is a 19-day old rat from control group Ermakova. 41-48 . I: Preliminary Findings presented at Symposium of National Association for Genetic Security. Frankfurt. 2005. Transgenic Plants & Risk Assessment. 2005: Irina Ermakova – offspring of GM-soy-fed rats die – growth abnormalities  Within three weeks. 25 of the 45 (55.

2005-2007 .GM-soy group Mortality of rat offspring for one day Control NonGM soy GM-soy akova Irina.

2005-2007 .Rat litters at 9-days from mothers fed non-GM or GM soy. GM-soy group Non-GM soy group Irina Ermakova.

Rats given GMO feeds developed inflamed STOMACH .

infant mortality for all rats hit 55.3%. .When the entire Russian facility began using GM soy-based feed.

. for injection into dairy cows – even though scientists warned the resulting increase of IGF-1. prostrate. and colon cancer. a genetically produced growth hormone. a potent chemical hormone.Adverse Health Effects of GMOs Direct Cancer and Degenerative Disease Links In 1994. is linked to 400-500% higher risks of human breast. FDA approved Monsanto's rBGH.

Rats Fed GM corn developed CANCER .

The resistant qualities of GM bacteria in food can be transferred to other bacteria in the environment and throughout the human body. . In 1998. the British Royal Society called for the banning of this marker as it threatens a vital antibiotic’s use.Adverse Health Effects of GMOs Antibiotic Resistance – Much of genetic implantation uses a marker to track where the gene goes into the cell. GM maize plants use an ampicillin resistant gene.


There is growing resistance to antibiotics misused in bioengineering. the formation of new and unknown viral strains. and the lowering of immunity through diets of processed and altered foods. This occurs in multiple ways. .The Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease journal reported in 1998 that gene technology may be implicated in the resurgence of infectious diseases.Adverse Health Effects of GMOs Resurgence of Infectious Diseases .

and GM cotton and canola. Bt-maize of Novartis. One study showed that gene mixing occurred in viruses in just 8 weeks (Kleiner.Adverse Health Effects of GMOs Viruses can mix with genes of other viruses and retroviruses such as HIV. . This can give rise to more deadly viruses – and at rates higher than previously thought. 1997). This kind of scenario applies to the cauliflower mosaic virus CaMV. the most common virus used in genetic engineering .in Round Up ready soy of Monsanto.

GE can result in unpredicted changes in DNA and plant composition • • • • Mutations (2-4% of DNA) Deletion of genes Permanently on or off Altered gene expression (up to 5%) .

Gene transfer to Gut bacteria • Bacterial sequences are easier to transfer to bacteria • The gene’s promoter works in bacteria .

94:961-66. 98:1871-87] • Transgenic DNA in the blood.Schmitzx. and W. 1998.A.Tzfira.Citovsky..Dingwall.Y. 1997. 2001.Schubbert.Flint.W.Rentz.65:6-10] • Agrobacterium. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. and V.Scott. B. L.GE increases HGT • Unintended contamination & unpredictable consequences….D.R. 1999.and R. which is widely believed not to infect animals and hence may not transfer engineered genes from plants to animals is found to mediate transfer of DNA in human cancer cells [Kunik. Johnson. T. and H.Horizontal Gene Transfer • Transfer of genetic material between unrelated species – Through bacteria and viruses . • 1999 – ARM gene transfer from human consumption of transgenic food to bacteria in human saliva and respiratory tract [Mercer.D.Gafni.K. 110:40-44 . PNAS(USA). W..Y.Kapulnik.Glover. K.PNAS(USA). and.. Doerfler.T.Doerfler. C.J.P. Wien Klin Wochenschr.. liver and spleen cells and in the placenta and fetus of pregnant mice [Schubbert.A.B.

Contamination inevitable • • • • Contamination of centres of genetic diversity Unsolicited gene transfer to farmers’ varieties Development of super herbicide resistance Development of new invasive species .

Cornell University and Monsanto behind Bt Eggplant’s development • Open air trials from 2004 in different states in India • Serious biosafety violations from field trials documented • Government guidelines violated when large scale trials were permitted in 2007. without biosafety being cleared first…. ..Bt Eggplant… • US agencies like USAID.

mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit value. and biochemical parameters such as total bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase are also changed. as well as glucose. platelet count. For rabbits less consumption was noted and also modification in prothrombin time. Sodium levels were also modified. lactose dehydrogenase and the hepatic markers alanine and aspartate aminotransferases. . higher bilirubin in some instances.Prof Seralini & team in CRIIGEN: First independent analysis Parameters affected in animals fed with Bt Eggplant are in blood cells or chemistry and in different ways according to the period of measurement during the study or the sex: In goats prothrombin time is modified. albumin. as well as feed consumption and weight gain.

There was more milk and more roughage dry matter intake as if the animals were treated by a hormone. In broiler chickens. feed intake as well as glucose in some instances were modified. In GM-fed fishes.Prof Seralini’s analysis…. average feed conversion and efficiency ratios were changed. . liver weight decrease as well as relative liver-to-bodyweight ratio decrease. higher water consumption. Rats GM-fed rats had diarrhoea. In cows milk production and composition were changed by 10-14%.

• Bt Eggplant produces a protein which can induce resistance towards at least kanamycin.Prof Seralini…. • The longest toxicity tests which are for only 90 days do not assess long-term effects like the development of tumours or cancers. a well known antibiotic. .

. Prof Seralini’s analysis points out that the interpretation of results in many cases by Mahyco is not scientifically acceptable. statistically significant differences that were reported were discounted rather than used to raise food safety concerns or as warranting further investigations. as Prof Seralini points out.What did the first independent analysis find? • Several differences found between study and (closest) control groups in the Bt Eggplant biosafety tests were not reported in the summaries of the test reports but are in the raw data.

CRIIGEN concludes… • “The permission for Bt brinjal release into the environment. may present a serious risk for human and animal health and the release should be forbidden”. for food or feed. .

Toxicity Studies on Bt Eggplant • Major health problems among test animals were ignored • The single test dose used was lower than recommended • Neurological function. behavioral effects. reproductive performance and biological resilience of test animals were not evaluated .

Toxicity Studies on Bt Eggplant
• Dietary equivalence of Bt eggplant and control diets was not addressed • Concentrations of the new insecticide protein Cry1A(c) in the dried samples fed to the rats were not measured • important endpoints skipped, such as IgE measurement to test for allergenicity • tested only one dose that was lower than estimated human consumption

Toxicity Studies on Bt Eggplant
• • • • organ and system damage ovaries at half their normal weight, enlarged spleens white blood cell counts at 35 to 40 percent higher than normal with elevated eosinophils, indicating immune function changes

Toxicity Studies on Bt Eggplant
• The current food safety studies for Bt eggplant were not conducted in accordance with published standards, • did not accurately summarize results, and • ignored toxic endpoints



. • Resist agrochemical TNCs. • Promote people empowerment.What Needs to be Done? • Protect people’s rights. not the interest of Big Business. • Arouse. • Ensure genuine food security through biodiversity-based ecological agriculture. health and environment. organize and mobilize communities against exploitative corporate globalization.


RESIST ! Corporate Science S erving C orporate I nterest E ngaged in N on-essential C ommercial E xploits .

Corporate Science S cientists T ampering U nnecessarily. P romoting I rreversible D isaster .

UPHOLD ! SCIENCE FOR THE PEOPLE S erving C ommunity I nterest E ngaged in N oteworthy C reative E ndeavors .

Precautionary Principle When there are reasonable grounds to indicate potential harm to health & environment. precautionary action should be taken even if cause and effect relationship has not been established scientifically. 1998 . .Wingspread statement.