Sunday, October 7, 2012

Monsanto GM maize may face Europe ban after French study links to cancer

A new study in France has found genetically modified maize to have devastating effects on the health of lab rats — which could indicate risks for other biological creatures, including humans. For two years, these rats were fed a diet of 33% genetically modified corn developed by Monsanto. The results are horrific. The rats “developed tumours the size of ping-pong balls, liver damage and digestive problems” according to the study. This could be enough for France to convince the entire European Union to ban the production of the genetically modified corn, specifically called “NK603,” if the French health agency Anses can back up the findings of the study. Russia has already called for a temporary ban on the product. Though an initial review by the European Food Saftey Authority rejects the study's findings on the basis of inadequate details on its procedures, a final review will take place next month, giving researchers time to present more on the study's specific designs. "For the past decade, EFSA has consistently sided with the biotech industry and disregarded health or environment concerns about genetically modified crops. Instead of picking holes in peer-reviewed research, they should take public concerns seriously," said Friends of the Earth campaigner Mute Schimpf. For the past two decades, GMOs — which are “generally regarded as safe” by the FDA — have been making their way into a significant portion of the food the world consumes, despite the fact that their short and long-term impacts on human health have been surrounded by a big blank question mark. Actually, there are a lot of upsides to genetically modified organisms. These plants have the ability to withstand herbicides — which can greatly increase crop yields and therefore profits. The benefits don’t stop there though. Common crops like rice can be made to have the ability to produce extra nutrients and tobacco plants can be turned into efficient producers of biofuel. With just a little tampering of DNA, the possibilities are practically endless. This kind of technology provides a solution to struggling economies, rural areas, developing countries and global poverty. According to the World Health Organization, “No effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where (GMFs) have been approved.” But now that the picture is being slowly filled in with viable information on what turns out to be extremely detrimental to biological organisms everywhere, even more questions are being raised — why hasn’t there been extensive research on this before GMOs became widespread? Why has it taken so long to initiate these research initiatives? And moreover, are these results found in Europe going to change the way that U.S. policy makers approach the very GMOs that comprise the majority of the U.S. produce market? In California, a bill is being pushed for to label products that have been bio-genetically engineered, but agribusinesses like Monsanto are pouring millions into stopping these campaigns. It’s clear that they have a desire to keep certain things under wraps. After all, agriculture is a very profitable business. With most of America’s produce subsidies going to corn farmers, and most of these corn strains of a genetically modified variety, it’s easy to see how dramatic the domino-effect will be if consumers concerned themselves with the emerging truth.

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