Growing Scientific Consensus on GMO Safety Fears

Posted on Oct 30 2013 - 6:19pm by Sustainable Pulse

The number of scientists, physicians and legal experts who have signed the group statement, “No scientific consensus on GMO safety” has climbed to 231 in just over a week – and it’s still growing.

europe gm crops campaign

The number of initial signatories stood at almost 100 on the day the statement was released, 21 October. It has more than doubled since.

A recent signatory is Dr Belinda Martineau, former member of the Michelmore Lab at the UC Davis Genome Center, University of California, who helped commercialise the world’s first GM whole food, the Flavr Savr tomato. Dr Martineau said:

“I wholeheartedly support this thorough, thoughtful and professional statement describing the lack of scientific consensus on the safety of genetically engineered (GM) crops and other GM organisms (also referred to as GMOs). Society’s debate over how best to utilize the powerful technology of genetic engineering is clearly not over. For its supporters to assume it is, is little more than wishful thinking.”

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Another signatory, Dr Judy Carman, director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, Adelaide, and adjunct associate professor, health and the environment, Flinders University, South Australia, said:

“Of the hundreds of different GM crops that have been approved for human and animal consumption somewhere in the world, few have been thoroughly safety tested. So it is not possible to have a consensus that they are all safe to eat – at least, not a consensus based on hard scientific evidence derived from experimental data.”

A third signatory, Prof Elena Alvarez-Buyllla, coordinator of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics of Plant Development and Evolution, Institute of Ecology, UNAM, Mexico, said:

“Given the scientific evidence at hand, sweeping claims that GM crops are substantially equivalent to, and as safe as, non-GM crops are not justifiable.

“We must be especially cautious in the case of proposed release of a GM crop in the centre of genetic origin for that crop. An example is the planting of GM maize in Mexico. Mexico is the centre of genetic origin for maize. GM genes can irreversibly contaminate the numerous native varieties which form the genetic reservoir for all future breeding of maize varieties. In addition, maize is a staple food crop for the Mexican people. So GMO releases can threaten the genetic diversity on which food security depends, both within Mexico and globally.

“Such decisions with broad implications for society should not be made by a narrow group of self-selected experts, many of whom have commercial interests in GM technology, but must also involve the millions of people who will be most affected. As things stand, in Mexico we have an ongoing uncontrolled experiment with no independent scientific or popular mandate, in which GM genes are allowed to crossbreed with native maize varieties. The inevitable result will be genetic alterations with unpredictable effects.”

A fourth signatory, Dr Joachim H. Spangenberg, faculty member at the UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany, said:

“Researchers in ecology and relevant environmental sciences have predicted negative environmental impacts from GM crops for around 25 years. Over the years, many of these impacts have been empirically documented. One example is the development of pest resistance to GM Bt insecticidal crops and weed resistance to the required herbicides for GM herbicide-tolerant crops. These resistance problems are now an increasing problem for farmers – to the benefit of the GM seed and agrochemical corporations – and are forcing farmers back to older, even more toxic chemical pesticides.

“Twenty years ago, the international academic associations of ecologists and molecular biologists met at the International Council for Science.  The two groups agreed that their fields of expertise were complementary and that they needed to cooperate in order to assess the ecological impacts of GM crops in a systematic way. However, many molecular biologists involved in GM crop development today persistently ignore their own blind spots and the science emerging from the complementary environmental segments of the science community, turning the application of GM technology into a social risk.”

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6 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. stephen sarre October 31, 2013 at 16:10 - Reply

    Growing Scientific Consensus on GMO Safety Fears – Breaking News

    re. your article with the headline above. by ‘admin’

    I write this letter to you wishing only to help & to inform… i realise the ‘tone’ may come off as critical, but please do not mistake that for denigration of your efforts to educate, illudcidate & spread the word on this important issue of our time. I wish only to help. though here i must do so by advising a re-wording or retraction…

    this article has a very misleading headline. it is arguably outright falsehood. as contained in the statement itself…

    “Decisions on the future of our food and agriculture should not be based on misleading and misrepresentative claims that a “scientific consensus” exists on GMO safety”

    as you can see the very article you cite as evidence denies the existence of any consensus, is, indeed stating nothing more than that there is none.

    perhaps your headline should thus read,
    Scientists issue statement that the debate on GMO safety is not over

    I strongly suggest you re-edit this article, and double-check future articles for errors of this sort as they are superb ammunition for those who wish to push forward in selling GMOs & the pesticides and fertilisers to go with them for profit. it is important, when advising the corporate amoral, to be not merely moral, but also direct, clear & honest.

    please do not hesitate to email me if you wish to discuss any part f this message,
    stephen sarre

  2. Admin October 31, 2013 at 16:24 - Reply

    Dear Stephen,

    Thank you for your comments – we fully understand your comments about the title – however we believe you have missed the ‘tongue in cheek’ nature of it.

    For many years we have been bombarded with the comment that there is a ‘scientific consensus’ that GMOs are safe and we now have a large group of scientists who say this is not the case.

    We are now putting the theory forward that actually there is now a ‘scientific consensus’ that ‘GMO safety has not been correctly tested’.

    This is purely to show that anyone can use the term ‘scientific consensus’.

    Best Wishes,
    Sustainable Pulse Team

    • Ráelin Hansen January 7, 2014 at 08:33 - Reply

      With all due respect, as someone who feels absolutely gobsmacked every flipping day by people’s general obtuseness, I think that most people don’t get tongue-in-cheek.

  3. kimberly shea medeiros December 20, 2013 at 19:11 - Reply

    As a person suffering an autoimmune disease i do not want to eat food with extra fillers such as fungus and molds i have read in gmo foods it is added as fillers ..This crap could make me very ill ….

  4. David Blomstrom December 30, 2013 at 08:52 - Reply

    The great GMO non-debate is a textbook example of the dumbing down of America. While other nations ban GMO foods, Americans stuff their faces with just about anything that can be marketed as “food.”

    Anyone with a basic understanding of biology should understand that GMO carries a huge risk under the best circumstances. When it’s promoted by a huge, corrupt corporation with a track record like Monsanto’s, people should be running away in fear – or, better yet, fighting back.

    GMO easily ranks with global warming as a major, almost apocalyptic, threat to both human health and the environment.

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