‘GMO Myths and Truths’ — Report Released by Genetic EngineersAugust 9th, 2012
By Ann Sewell
In a groundbreaking report, two genetic engineers explain in detail why GMOs are not good for human health or the environment.
The new report is titled “GMO Myths and Truths”. The report presents a large body of peer-reviewed scientific and other authoritative evidence of the hazards to health and the environment posed by genetically engineered crops and organisms (GMOs). While there are many campaigners against GMOs in general, the initiative for this report came not from campaigners, but from two genetic engineers, who believe there are good scientific reasons to be wary of GM crops and food.
One of the genetic engineers involved in the report is Dr Michael Antoniou of King’s College London School of Medicine in the U.K., which uses genetic engineering for medical applications but warns against its use in developing crops for human food and animal feed.
Dr Antoniou said: “GM crops are promoted on the basis of ambitious claims – that they are safe to eat, environmentally beneficial, increase yields, reduce reliance on pesticides, and can help solve world hunger.”
“I felt what was needed was a collation of the evidence that addresses the technology from a scientific point of view.”
“Research studies show that genetically modified crops have harmful effects on laboratory animals in feeding trials and on the environment during cultivation. They have increased the use of pesticides and have failed to increase yields. Our report concludes that there are safer and more effective alternatives to meeting the world’s food needs.”
The second author of the report is Dr John Fagan, a former genetic engineer, who in 1994 returned $614,000 in grant money to the National Institutes of Health, due to concerns about the safety and ethics of the technology. Dr Fagan then founded a GMO testing company.
He says, “Crop genetic engineering as practiced today is a crude, imprecise, and outmoded technology. It can create unexpected toxins or allergens in foods and affect their nutritional value. Recent advances point to better ways of using our knowledge of genomics to improve food crops, that do not involve GM.”
“Over 75% of all GM crops are engineered to tolerate being sprayed with herbicide. This has led to the spread of herbicide-resistant superweeds and has resulted in massively increased exposure of farmers and communities to these toxic chemicals. Epidemiological studies suggest a link between herbicide use and birth defects and cancer.”
“These findings fundamentally challenge the utility and safety of GM crops, but the biotech industry uses its influence to block research by independent scientists and uses its powerful PR machine to discredit independent scientists whose findings challenge this approach.”
The third author of the report is Claire Robinson, who is research director of Earth Open Source.
Robinson said, “The GM industry is trying to change our food supply in far-reaching and potentially dangerous ways. We all need to inform ourselves about what is going on and ensure that we – not biotechnology companies – keep control of our food system and crop seeds.
“We hope our report will contribute to a broader understanding of GM crops and the sustainable alternatives that are already working successfully for farmers and communities.”
The full report can be read here.