Thursday, 20 September 2012

France Responds to Study of GMOs That Shows Links to Tumors and Organ Damage

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A study on the effect of long-term consumption of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) by rats has France calling for a major investigation into GMOs. Findings from the study show evidence that there is a connection between GMO crops and tumors, as well as organ damage. The French agriculture minister is now asking European authorities to abandon the use of GMO crops, and the French government is calling for a health agency investigation.

The study that provoked concern from French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll was conducted by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen in France and utilized the Monsanto seed variety known as NK603, made tolerant to the company’s own Roundup, a herbicide.

The rats were found to have an abundance of tumors and experienced damage to both the kidneys and liver.

Natural Society explains: “As a result of the mass tumors, liver and kidney damage, it was concluded that around 50 percent of the males and 70 percent of the females died prematurely as a result of eating only Roundup tolerant seed or drinking water with Roundup [at] approved levels set by the United States government.”

Natural News notes, “This is the same corn that’s in your corn-based breakfast cereal, corn tortillas and corn snack chips.”

Likewise, rats that drank trace amounts of Roundup at levels that are legally permitted in the water supply had a 200 percent to 300 percent increase in large tumors.

And rats that consumed the GM corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organ damage.

The researchers participating in the study were shocked at how quickly the tumors developed. “This research shows an extraordinary number of tumors developing earlier and more aggressively — particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts,” said Dr. Michael Antoniou, one of the researchers.

The study was published in The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal and was presented at a news conference in London.

Seralini’s study has been called the most thorough research into the health effects of GM crop foods to date, as Monsanto and other GMO companies have done their best to prohibit a full study of GM products through legal red tape and patent protection laws. The findings provoked France’s agriculture Minister to call for a mass investigation into whether GMOs have an equally detrimental impact on humans.

On Wednesday, Stephane Le Foll and Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine asked a health watchdog to conduct an investigation into GMOs, one that could possibly lead to a suspension of the use of genetically modified corn throughout the European Union. Le Foll and Touraine described the decision in a joint statement. “Depending on ANSES’ opinion, the government will urge the European authorities to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health,” they said. “(The measures) could go as far as invoking emergency suspension of imports of NK603 corn to Europe pending a re-examination of this product on the basis of enhanced assessment methods.”

WikiLeaks cables revealed that a significant number of U.S. diplomats and other important figures are pleading for Monsanto in countries across Europe so that it can dominate the agricultural industry.

In 2007, Craig Stapleton, ambassador to France and business partner to George W. Bush, asked that the  European Union, as well as a number of other nations, be penalized for not supporting GMO crops. Stapleton said, “Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices.”

And cables from the U.S. embassy in the Vatican showed that the United States had pushed for the pope to articulate public support for the crops.

The Guardian reported in 2011, “The US state department special adviser on biotechnology as well as government biotech advisers based in Kenya lobbied Vatican insiders to persuade the pope to declare his backing."

"Opportunities exist to press the issue with the Vatican, and in turn to influence a wide segment of the population in Europe and the developing world," says one cable.

Not all U.S. politicians are onboard with Monsanto's plans, however. Representative Dennis Kuncinich has been one of the leading voices in the United States Congress against GMOs and Monsanto in particular. In a recent speech before the House, Kucinich called out Monsanto and demanded that good companies label GMOs.

In 1992 the Food and Drug Administration decided that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are the functional equivalent of conventional foods. They arrived at this decision without testing GMOs for allergenicity, toxicity, anti-biotic resistance and functional characteristics. As a result hundreds of millions of acres of GMO crops were planted in America without the knowledge or consent of the American people: no safety testing and no long term health studies.

The FDA has received over a million comments from citizens demanding labeling of GMOs. Ninety percent of Americans agree. So, why no labeling? I’ll give you one reason: The influence and the corruption of the political process by Monsanto. Monsanto has been a prime mover in GMO technology, a multi-million dollar GMO lobby here and a major political contributor.

There is a chance that Monsanto’s grip will be broken in California where a GMO labeling initiative is on the ballot. And here in Congress, my legislation HR 3553 will provide for a national labeling law. Americans have a right to know if their food is genetically engineered. It’s time for labeling and for people to know how their food is being produced.