Usually, drugs and new foods are first tested on animals before they are released for human consumption. If the results are favorable, clinical trials on human beings are conducted. Unlike safety evaluations for drugs, there are no animal or human clinical trials of GM foods.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in 1992, in a move that some experts contend was illegal, declared that GM crops do not require any safety evaluations or labeling. A company can even introduce a GM food to the market without telling the agency. How this came about is an ugly story well told by the Institute of Responsible Technology in an enlightening 2010 report called “State-of-the-Science on the Health Risks of GM foods”.
The FDA’s own scientists warned of possible adverse effects of this new science listing allergies, toxins, nutritional effects, and new diseases as potential dangers. The warnings of those scientists, denied politically and commercially by the biotech companies, are now beginning to be heard.
Nearly every independent animal feeding safety study shows adverse or unexplained effects attributed to GMOs. In a 1999 study rats fed GM potatoes experienced adverse effects on their intestinal tracts (Ewen and Puzstai, 1999). Rats fed GM tomatoes developed stomach lesions, and rats fed a different type of GM potatoes had smaller and atrophied livers.
Rats fed Bt corn had liver lesions, and rabbits fed GM soy showed altered enzyme production in their livers as well as high metabolic activity. The Committee of Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering and universities in France were able to get raw data on Monsanto’s 2002 feeding trial on rats and re-analyze it.
It was found that rats fed for 90 days with three approved varieties of GMO corn – Mon863 (an insecticide product) and Mon810 and Roundup Ready (herbicide products) – suffered organ damage. The data “clearly underlines adverse impacts on kidneys and liver, the detoxifying organs, as well as different levels of damages to the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haemotopoietic systems” (Deu de Mois, Rouillier, Cellise, Serelini, 2009).
Rats fed Roundup Ready soybeans showed structural changes in their livers (Verma, Nanda, Singh, Singh, and Mishra, 2011). Other studies showed that GMO potatoes caused immune systems of rats to respond more slowly; GMO peas provoke such inflammatory responses in mice, it suggests that they might cause deadly allergic reactions in people.
The testicles of both mice and rats fed Roundup Ready soybeans showed dramatic changes. In rats, the organs were dark blue instead of pink; in mice, young sperm cells were altered. An Austrian government study showed that mice fed GM corn had fewer babies and they were smaller.
Dramatic results were similarly discovered at the Russian National Academy of Sciences (Ermakova, 2006). Female rats were fed GM soy, starting two weeks before they were mated. Over a series of three experiments, 51.6% of the offspring from the GM-fed group died within the first three weeks, compared to 10% from the non-GM soy group, and 8.1 percent for non-soy controls.
High mortality was characteristic of every litter from mothers fed the GM soy flour. The average size and weight of the GM-fed offspring was quite small. In a preliminary study, the GM-fed offspring were unable to conceive. Last week we learned that although Monsanto has reassured the public that GM crops pose no danger to human health, because the genetic protein breaks down in the human gut, it is not true.
The only published human feeding experiment revealed that the genetic material inserted into GM soy, transfers into bacteria living inside human intestines and continues to function. Traces of Bt toxin from Monsanto Bt corn were found in the blood of 93% of women and 80% of their umbilical cord and fetal blood (Aris and LeBlanc, 2011).