30 March 2015 | Online since 2003

25 January 2013|Arable,Cereal,Crops,News

No safety implications of GM viral gene says professor

"Contrary to recent claims, the data published in the paper by Podevin andf du Jardin do not represent a new discovery of a viral gene nor do they indicate safety concerns in previously evaluated GMOs," said Professor Joe Perry, Chair of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) GMO Panel.

"This viral gene belongs to a plant virus that cannot infect animals or humans. Moreover, this virus naturally infects many conventional plants with no recorded health effects."

Professor Perry continued: "All GMO applications containing the inserted fragment of the viral gene in question, which have been assessed by the EFSA Panel since its creation in 2002, have included a detailed analysis of the inserted sequence."

"In our assessments, we did not identify any safety concerns in relation to the sequence of the inserted fragment of the viral gene and its potential for unintended effects."

"We have been aware of this work, written by colleagues, for months. The potential for unintended effects is routinely taken into account during all our risk assessments."

"This is why there is an extensive set of data required to assess GM crops for potential unintended effects. These data requirements include, inter alia, an extensive compositional analysis and agronomic data."

Perry finished by reminding that "the virus concerned is a plant virus, not a human virus, with no documented adverse effect on human health, but, on the contrary, with a history of safe use in food; it infects many plants with no recorded health effects on humans."



28-01-2013 19:46 PM | Posted by: Kev C
Has this organisation also considered the sort of unintended consequences of eating GM food through human feeding trials?

No they have not. They merely say that because the US population has been eating GM food for over 20 years its safe which is the most foolish king for any scientific organisation to say.

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.

To prove no unintended consequences from eating GM food there needs to be strictly controlled human feeding trials. That means three groups to prove that GM food is not harmful. A GM feeding group, a conventional food (chemical agriculture derived food) feeding group and an organic feeding group. All running parallel.

Why? Because there is evidence to suggest that chemically derived food is also harmful and to isolate the differences or the amplifications of effect that may occur with the eating of GM food which is chemical intensive there needs to be a chemical free option otherwise the evidence becomes totally useless. The figures could be dismissed as not being statistically significant which is exactly what would benefit the biotech industry.

So until a feeding trial conducted by independent research groups is concluded there is absolutely no proof that GM food is safe and this includes the inclusion of GM viruses whether plant or animal in origin.

As an after thought it would also be worth noting that Monsanto have never ever presented their full data sets for evaluation on any GM crop. They keep hiding behind the 'intellectual property rights' smoke screen. Then they insist on enforcing strict patent laws. They want it all ways and we are supposed to trust people like these? The very same industry which claimed DDT was safe and Agent Orange was not dangerous to people.

Try asking them about Son Numbers research into the toxic hazards of glyphosate.

29-01-2013 15:19 PM | Posted by: Mr. Scientist
"the virus concerned is a plant virus, not a human virus, with no documented adverse effect on human health, but, on the contrary, with a history of safe use in food; it infects many plants with no recorded health effects on humans."

Oh really......then can you explain why children and adults get severe allergic reactions when they have eaten GMO based crops ???? The FDA's own scientists have sounded the alarm about the fact that it is not possible to test every product that goes to market to determine what allergic reactions that it would cause to the population. My own 8 year old son had an allergic reaction to ORTEGA Taco Sauce so severe that he turned red all over his body within an hour after eating it ( Side note - He ate the same foods the whole week, the ORTEGA Taco sauce was the only new food item introduced when this reaction happened ). He was rushed to immediate care after Benadryl didn't even touch the reaction. The doctors seemed very hesitant, but had to give him liquid Predisone to stop it. After this event I was determined to know why it happened, so I took him and the ORTEGA bottle to a top allergist. They ran every scratch test and every blood test that they had; afterward we found he HAD NO FOOD OR ENVIROMENTAL ALLERGIES WHATSOEVER !!! So, you tell me who's BS-ing who.

29-01-2013 15:21 PM | Posted by: Mr. Scientist
I live in the US, and I'm in 100% agreement with Kev C.

30-01-2013 09:08 AM | Posted by: Valentine Dyall
"Oh really......then can you explain why children and adults get severe allergic reactions when they have eaten GMO based crops ????"

Sure - they don't.

30-01-2013 09:17 AM | Posted by: Valentine Dyall
Kevin C wrote: "Absence of proof is not proof of absence".

He is wrong. Safety is always defined as an absence of harm, danger or damage; such a definition inevitably limits an absolute assertion of safety for food or any other product or activity because we cannot know the future. In practice we extrapolate from past and present experience to make a reasonable forecast of the future but it can never be more than that: forecasts may sometimes be wrong.

It is therefore futile to claim that “an absence of evidence (for harm) is not evidence of absence”. Since we can judge present and future safety only on the basis of past experience, the absence of evidence of harm is precisely the only evidence we can ever expect to accumulate for something being “safe”.

26-02-2013 17:25 PM | Posted by: Tom
"Absence of proof is not proof of absence"

In the strictest sense, I agree with Kevin's statement. However, Kev must not live in my world, because such absolutes rarely if ever apply.

Were we to hold the bar so high that "proof" of safety is required before marketing a product, then no products would reach the market. Certainly no pharmaceuticals. Safety is defined by organizations, such as the FDA, as have an appropriately acceptable cost-benefit ratio. That's how you get FDA approval for drugs that have side-effects such as "may result in sudden-death" on the label.

In the context of GMOs, what other alternative is there to feeding 9+ billion - particularly in light of the recognized world-wide shortage of water that we are facing. Even if, GMOs were to cause allergies, as Valentien asserts without referencing any credible source (i.e. proof), is that not a reasonably acceptable level of risk to allow development of food sources capable of feeding the world? Do you think someone starving wouldn't trade a sniffle or even hives, for meal?

You don't have to agree with the market manipulations and robber-baron mentality of ADM, Cargill, Monsanto, and the like, but please offer up a credible alternative to capitalism before castigating the only system with the potential to quite literally save millions of lives. Such sophomoric arguments requiring absolute proof of concept via endless trails is not only non-productive and unrealistic, but it distracts from any discussion that may offer credible compromise for regulating and monitoring the industrial food production industry.

17-04-2013 14:27 PM | Posted by: Patented ownership of seed stock!
GMOs are never going to save the world, that much is plain. The problems in feeding people come from a small number of companies controlling a large amount of food production, trading food staples as a commodity. While millions sit down to TV dinners, children are shown starving to death on the telly as tonnes upon tonnes of food that would save them is being exported from the very same country struck by famine, by the big food producing companies due to "free trade" agreements. The GMO food industry is not about saving lives, feeding people or altruism, this is just spin, it's marketing. It is about patented ownership of and hence total control of seed stock for profit and nothing more. This is why the growth in small farms around the 3rd world needs to continue- the people need to be in control of their own food and seed stock, not beholden to corporations.

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