Scientific Review Finds Lack of Evidence on GM Food Safety





A research team from the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, all in Australia, has reviewed published studies on the health impacts of genetically modified (GM) crops on rats and suggested that there is not enough evidence that GM crops are safe to eat. The researchers looked at published studies on rats fed GM crops containing one or more of three commonly used GM genes.  Researchers examined studies that investigated the health of these rats by looking at tissues from their digestive tracts under a microscope.  The digestive tract is viewed as the most likely place for damage to occur from eating these crops. 


The researchers found forty seven crop varieties with one or more of these genes that government regulators had said were safe to eat.  However, no published studies could be found for eighty percent of those crop varieties. Of the published studies, most were general health assessments of the GM crop on rat health, but three quarters of these were done after the crop had been approved as safe to eat by government regulators, with half of the studies published at least nine years after approval.


The researchers found flaws with all of the studies reviewed.  For example, studies were not consistent or transparent in their methods, investigators didn’t define what they considered to be a toxic or pathological finding, or they were not transparent in what they found.  Many of the studies contained several such faults making the research results doubtful.

Dr Judy Carman, one of the authors of the review said: “We believe that there is a lack of evidence that these GM crop varieties are safe to eat”. She also noted that “the authors of the paper believe that guidelines should be developed as to how these studies should be done so that they can be done properly.” The research casts further doubt on the safety of GMOs, something campaigners against GMOs have been fighting for. 

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