(see also the ngin guide to avoiding GM foods)
But first the view of a non-scientist - Phil Angell, the director of corporate communications at Monsanto:
"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food.
• Professor Richard
Lewontin, professor of genetics, Harvard University, "An ecosystem,
you can always intervene and change something in it, but there's no way
of knowing what all the downstream effects will be or how it might affect
the environment. We have such a miserably poor
understanding of how the organism develops from its DNA that I would be
surprised if we don't get one rude shock after another."
• Dr Suzanne Wuerthele,
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicologist, "This technology
is being promoted, in the face of concerns by respectable scientists and
in the face of data to the contrary, by the very agencies which are supposed
to be protecting human health and the environment. The bottom line in my
view is that we are confronted with the most powerful
technology the world has ever known, and it is
being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences."
• Professor Norman
Ellstrand, ecological geneticist at the University of
California, "within 10 years we will have a moderate
to large-scale ecological or economic catastrophe,
because there will be so many products being released."
• Dr Harash Narang,
microbiologist and senior research associate at the University of Leeds,
who originally pointed to the possible link between mad cow disease (BSE)
and CJD in humans, "If you look at the simple principle of genetic
modification it spells ecological
disaster. There are no ways of quantifying the risks...
The solution is simply to ban the use of genetic modification in food."
• Dr. Erik Millstone,
Sussex University, "The fundamental problem of the way in which GM
foods have been approved is that they haven't
really been tested properly at all. All that has happened is
something which I would characterise as an exercise in wishful thinking."
see Dr Millstone's
article on this
• Dr Ian Gibson
MP, former Dean of Biology at the University of East Anglia,
has called for a ban on GM foods until longer term safety testing has taken
place. He has also expressed concern about the inclusion of GM ingredients
in school meals: “There is an awful lot unknown about hazards of new [GM
food] crops and until it is fully tested we should
not be subjecting people to risks, least of all young children.”
for an article about the concerns of a leading European regulator
• "With genetic
engineering familiar foods could become metabolically dangerous or even
toxic.” Statement by 21 scientists including the following,
Brian Goodwin, Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Professor Peter Saunders and
Professor Richard Lacey
• Professor Richard
Lacey, microbiologist and Professor of Food Safety at Leeds
University - one of the scientists who predicted the BSE disaster from
early on - has spoken out strongly against the introduction of genetically
engineered foods because of “the essentially unlimited
health risks”. click
here for an article on the risks of genetic engineering and why they
are not worth taking
• Professor Arpad
Pusztai, world-leading nutrintional science expert, formerly
of the Food, Gut, and Microbial Interactions Group, Rowett Research Institute,
"If it is left to me, I would certainly not eat it. We are putting new
things into food which have not been eaten before. The effects on the immune
system are not easily predictable and I challenge
anyone who will say that the effects are predictable."
Pusztai's article on why GM is not safe, predictable or precise
• Professor Colin
Blakemore, Waynflete professor of physiology at Oxford University
and former President of the British Association for the Advancement of
Science, has said of the genetic engineering of food crops: “We
shouldn’t be complacent in thinking that we can predict the results."
• Professor James
(the main architect of the UK Food Standards Agency) has commented on genetically
engineered food: "The perception that everything
is totally straightforward and safe is utterly naive. I don't
think we fully understand the dimensions of what we're getting into." He
has also said, ""There is... a need to develop more effective and appropriate
screening methods to alert companies and government agencies to the
unexpected consequences of the often random insertion of genetic traits
into plants." Professor James has also remarked that the current
regulatory system is open to challenge simply because “we are making all
sorts of judgments with so little evidence at hand.” click
here for an article on the regulatory surrender of government
• Dr Andrew Chesson,
vice chairman of European Commission scientific committee on animal nutrition,
"Potentially disastrous effects may come from
undetected harmful substances in genetically modified foods."
here for an article about the concerns of a leading European regulator
• Dr. Gerald B.
Guest, Director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM),"...animal
feeds derived from genetically modified plants present unique
animal and food safety concerns ... Residues of plant constituents
or toxicants in meat and milk products may pose human food safety problems.
• Professor Gordon
McVie, head of the Cancer Research Campaign:"We
don’t know what genetic abnormalities might be incorporated into the genome
[the individual’s DNA]. I’m more worried about humans than about the environment,
to be honest. One of the problems is that because it’s a long-term thing,
you need to do long-term experiments." click
here for an article on the inadequate safety testing of GM foods
• Dr Vyvyan Howard:
expert in fetal and infant toxico-pathology at Liverpool University Hospital,
"Swapping genes between organisms can produce unknown
toxic effects and allergies that are most likely to affect children"
• Dr Mae Wan-Ho,
geneticist in the UK Open University Department of Biology says: "Genetic
engineering bypasses conventional breeding by using artificially constructed
parasitic genetic elements, including viruses, as vectors to carry and
smuggle genes into cells. Once inside cells, these vectors slot themselves
into the host genome. The insertion of foreign
genes into the host genome has long been known to have many harmful and
fatal effects including cancer of the organism."
summary of Dr Ho in discussion with other molecular biologists
• Professor Dennis
Parke of University of Surrey School of Biological Sciences,
a former chief advisor on food safety to Unilever Corporation and British
advisor to the US FDA on safety aspects of biotechnology writes: "In 1983,
hundreds of people in Spain died after consuming adulterated rapeseed oil.
This adulterated rapeseed oil was not toxic to rats". Dr Parke warns that
testing procedures for genetically altered foods including rodent tests
are not proving safety for humans. He has suggested a moratorium
on the release of genetically engineered foods.
• Dr Peter Wills,
theoretical biologist at Auckland University writes: "By transferring genes
across species barriers which have existed for aeons between species like
humans and sheep we risk breaching natural thresholds
against unexpected biological processes. For example, an incorrectly
folded form of an ordinary cellular protein can under certain circumstances
be replicative and give rise to infectious neurological disease".
• Dr Michael Antoniou, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Pathology at Guy’s Hospital says, "The generation of genetically engineered plants and animals involves the random integration of artificial combinations of genetic material from unrelated species into the DNA of the host organism. This procedure results in disruption of the genetic blueprint of the organism with totally unpredictable consequences. The unexpected production of toxic substances has now been observed in genetically engineered bacteria, yeast, plants, and animals with the problem remaining undetected until a major health hazard has arisen. Moreover, genetically engineered food or enzymatic food processing agents may produce an immediate effect or it could take years for full toxicity to come to light." Dr Antoniou recently warned MPs against believing there was any safe alternative to a ban on GM foods, "We should not lull ourselves into a false sense of security: we should not think that by regulating something which is inherently unpredictable and uncontainable it automatically becomes safe!" see Dr Antoniou's article on the hazards of genetic engineering
• The British
Medical Association has questioned "whether there is a
real need for genetically modified foodstuff", warning that "an artificial
market may have been created by researchers and producers."
here for an article on the artificial market and the regulatory surrender
But then as Phil Angell, the director of corporate communications at Monsanto says of GM food:
"Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible."
For a much larger collection of statements of concern see: Statements by Scientists on the dangers of genetically engineered food
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH etc.
See also the ngin links page for links to sites with articles by scientists or with summaries of research on GE. Some of these items are in the articles section on this site
For more information on GM foods see the ngin guide to avoiding GM foods
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