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September 19th, 2012

First Long-term GE Food Study Results Are In And They’re Not Pretty

By Genna Reed

Because of restrictions in technology use agreements, researchers are often unable to get access to seeds for independent feeding trials to test the safety of genetically engineered (GE) food and animal feed. One of the few scientists that has succeeded in obtaining seed and doing longer term feeding studies on rats is Gilles-Eric Séralini and his team from the University of Caen’s Institute of Biology in France.

His new two-year feeding study was just published in the most recent issue of the peer-reviewed academic journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology. Past studies were cited in our GE Foods Overview report including a 2007 study, which found significant liver and kidney impairment of rats that were fed insect-resistant Bt corn, concluding that, “with the present data it cannot be concluded that GE corn MON863 is a safe product.” Another study published in 2009 found that glyphosate caused DNA damage to human cells even at lower exposure levels than those recommended by the herbicide’s manufacturer.

Séralini’s newest research is incredibly significant because it is the longest feeding trial performed on animals fed GE crops, involves 200 rats which is the highest number of rats examined in a GE diet study, measures more metabolic differences through blood and urine sampling during the rats’ lifespans and uses the total formulation of Roundup on the feed, as opposed to just the active ingredient of glyphosate.

Some of the shocking findings of this chronic rat feeding study include:

  • Female rats fed Roundup ready GE corn developed mammary tumors caused by the disruptive effects of Roundup on the female reproductive hormone, estrogen.
  • Both male and female rats fed GE feed had severe liver and kidney damage, and the damage was not necessarily dose dependent. The symptoms were similar for animals fed high and low diets of GE corn.
  • 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely compared with 30 percent and 20 percent of the control group (rats fed a non-GE diet).
  • In groups treated with trace Roundup levels in their water, 70 to 80 percent of the rats had 1.4-2.4 times more abnormalities in their pituitary glands than the controls. The pituitary gland is a vital hormone-producing part of the brain responsible or controlling signals for growth, metabolism, stress and fertility.
  • The first detectable tumors occurred 4-7 months into the study, which shows the need for feeding studies longer than just 90 days!

The status quo for GE food safety testing is unacceptable. Biotech companies are only required to complete 90 day rat feeding trials to determine the relative safety of their GE crops, a period which only represents up to early adulthood. Without long-term studies on the health effects of GE crops, consumers are basically serving as guinea pigs. This lack of research must be acknowledged and turned into a priority for the USDA and FDA before any new GE crops are approved.

This latest study sheds a critical light on the inherent dangers of GE crops designed to withstand chemical pesticides and herbicides, like Roundup, and makes mandatory labeling even that more vital. Join Food & Water Watch’s LET ME DECIDE campaign and sign this petition to tell your state and federal elected officials to require labeling for all GE foods.

 

6 Comments on First Long-term GE Food Study Results Are In And They’re Not Pretty

  1. Organic Food says:

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyways, just wanted to say superb blog!

  2. @ the guy who says he can’t post – it works for me!!

  3. Justin says:

    Im confused, I just read MANY rebuttals addressing this study stating the inadequacies in how the testing was conducted. They made valid points, but none offer an alternative to the testing. I hope more studies can be done because humans are COMPLEX organisms and altering food source genes can have huge implications on our health.

  4. Scott says:

    Sounds like the wording in the study emphasizes that they put roundup directly into the rat’s GE food. Harm does not surprise me then. So is the GE Food by itself o.k. to eat (if you don’t sprinkle some roundup into it)?

    • aghosh says:

      The Seralini study actually experimented with both of these scenarios. Some of the rats fed on just GE food that were GE and hadn’t been treated with roundup and some were GE that had been treated. They found that both of the treated rat groups demonstrated similar tumor development and liver and kidney disorders versus the control group. If you’d like to look at the study for specifics, here’s the link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637

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