Fraud behind GM food safety claims SECRET PAPERS SHOW
SCIENTISTS ARE AT ODDS OVER RISKS
Source: Daily Mail 11th Feb 2000
THE release of 'Frankenstein foods' into the world's supermarkets was
based on flawed
experiments which failed to confirm their safety, official U.S.
government papers have revealed.
Scientists on the American Food & Drug Administration could not agree
that key tests involving feeding genetically modified tomatoes to rats
proved they were harmless, it emerged yesterday.
Yet these tests were effectively used to give the green light for the
release across the world, including Britain, of a whole range of GM
foods, including soya and corn. The documents have emerged following
the launch of a lawsuit in the U.S. by farmers and GM critics against
Monsanto and other biotech companies and were presented to
Environment Minister Michael Meacher at a private briefing this week.
Details were revealed yesterday at a news conference at the House of
Commons, where a leading scientist called for a ban all GM foods on
the market saying the technology was inherently dangerous.
Professor Terje Traavik, a Norwegian government adviser, claimed there
were potential risks that could result in new disease-causing viruses,
bacteria, mutations and even cancers.
Critics seized on the claims to demand an immediate ban on GM foods and
the launch of proper tests to assess their impact on human health.
U.S. lawyer Steven Druker, who is leading the action against Monsanto,
accused the FDA of deliberate deception.
'The FDA's misrepresentations are not innocent, they are fraudulent, '
he said. 'The agency's behaviour is not only illegal and irresponsible,
it is unconscionable.
The safety of the world's food supply is at stake.' He said the
government documents proved that claims from the FDA that all GM foods
had been well tested and all safety issues had been resolved were
Files handed over had revealed 'memorandum after memorandum from the
FDA's technical experts warning about the potential risks of genetically
engineered foods'. Biotech companies and the authorities in Britain and
America insisted that human feeding trials were unnecessary because GM
foods are 'substantially equivalent' to natural products.
But Mr Druker said the papers 'clearly state they cannot be presumed to
be substantially equivalent to conventional foods and that they entail
a unique set of risks'.
He added: 'It could lead to the generation of unintended and
unpredicted toxins, cancer causing agents, allergens and other
substances.' The FDA had approved GM tomatoes later sold as paste in
the UK despite tests showing that rats fed on them had developed
'erosions' in their intestines, he said.
Professor Traavik said: 'The first generation of GM organisms are
inherently unstable and unpredictable and carry a number of potential
risks and hazards, both environmental and for health. The only way to
escape the current miserable position is to ban the first generation of
Adrian Bebb, of Friends of the Earth, said: 'It is quite clear the
public has been kept in the dark about the safety of GM foods. People
are being kept in the dark
---- For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the Ban-GEF list, send email to Ban-GEF@lists.txinfinet.com with HELP in the SUBJECT line.
Search the archives (since '97) at http://www.txinfinet.com/ban-gef/, or go to a recent day's digest at http://www.txinfinet.com/ban-gef/00/. Updated weekly.
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with the command "unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command "unsubscribe sanet-mg-digest". To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command "subscribe sanet-mg-digest".
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at: http://www.sare.org/san/htdocs/hypermail
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Mar 12 2000 - 14:00:24 EST