The results of a two-year feeding trial were released yesterday, with details of tumors and mortality in rats, and a telebriefing conference was held which has now been released as an audio file.
As reported in Digital Journal yesterday, this is the first study of its kind, it is peer-reviewed, and was published in the American journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology.
The animal feeding trial was set up to study the lifetime effects of exposure to NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize, and also to Roundup, the world's best-selling herbicide and weedkiller.
First peer reviewed lifetime feeding trial finds “safe” levels of GM maize and Roundup can cause tumors and multiple organ damage.
Researchers found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize, or given water containing Roundup at levels permitted in drinking water and GM crops in the US, died earlier than rats fed on a standard diet. They suffered mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage.
The research was lead by Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, Molecular Biologist at Caen University and first author of the research being discussed.
The telebriefing is introduced by Patrick Holden, Founder and Director for the Sustainable Food Trust. SFT has an interest in comparing different systems of agriculture and their impact on human and environmental health.
Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini then speaks at length about the feeding trial.
Additional contributors at the telepress conference held on Wednesday, include Dr. Michael Antoniou – Professor in Molecular Genetics, Kings College, London School of Medicine. Dr. Antoniou has over 40 peer-reviewed publications of original work.
Dr Antoniou says, “This is the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats. It shows an extraordinary number of tumors developing earlier and more aggressively - particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts.”
“The rat has long been used as a surrogate for human toxicity. All new pharmaceutical, agricultural and household substances are, prior to their approval, tested on rats. This is as good an indicator as we can expect that the consumption of GM maize and the herbicide Roundup, impacts seriously on human health.”
The research team say they believe this is the first long-term animal feeding trial to examine the effects of Roundup, the world’s most used herbicide, and a commercial Roundup tolerant GM maize. Researchers studied 10 groups, each containing 10 male and 10 female rats, over their normal lifetime - two years.
Details of the trial are as follows:
Three groups were given Roundup in their drinking water, at three different levels consistent with exposure through the food chain from crops sprayed with the weedkiller: the mid level corresponded to the maximum level permitted in the US in some GM feed; the lowest corresponded to contamination found in some tap waters. Three groups were fed diets which contained different proportions of NK603 – 11%, 22% and 33%. Three groups were given both Roundup and NK603 at the same three dosages. The final control group was fed an equivalent diet with no Roundup or NK603 but containing 33% of equivalent non-GM maize.
Researchers found that NK603 and Roundup both caused similar damage to the rats’ health whether they were consumed on their own or together. Females developed fatal mammary tumors and pituitary disorders. Males suffered liver damage, developed kidney and skin tumors and experienced problems with their digestive system. The team also identified a “threshold effect” where even the lowest doses were associated with severe health problems.
The report states: “Similar degrees of pathological symptoms were noticed in this study to occur from the lowest to the highest doses suggesting a threshold effect. This corresponds to levels likely to arise from consumption or environmental exposure, such as either 11% GM maize in food, or 50ng/L of glyphosate in R-formulation [the lowest concentration of Roundup in the rats’ drinking water] as can be found in some contaminated drinking tap waters, and which falls within authorized limits.”
Copies of the research can be obtained on request from CRIIGEN and from Food and Chemical Toxicology.
The full report, as published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, can be read here.