We call on the Malaysian government to impose a moratorium on all Genetically Modified (GM) products imported into the country for food, feed and processing. This call is on the wake of results of a new study which revealed serious health impacts of the widely-used Roundup herbicide and the Roundup tolerant GM maize NK603 (cultivated with or without Roundup).
According to the researchers, the two tested products are in very common use:- (i) a transgenic maize made tolerant to Roundup, the characteristic shared by over 80% of food and animal feed GMOs, and (ii) Roundup itself, the most widely used herbicide on the planet. The regulatory approval process requires these products to be tested on rats as a surrogate for humans (http://www.criigen.org/SiteEn/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=366&Itemid=130).
The new research took the form of a two year feeding trial on 200 rats, monitored for outcomes against more than 100 parameters and with more detailed analyses than any previous studies to date. The doses were consistent with typical dietary and environmental exposure.
The study by Professor Séralini and team in the University of Caen, France has been published in a leading scientific international peer-reviewed journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, on line since Sept. 19, 2012. [ Séralini, G.-E., et al. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food Chem. Toxicol. (2012) (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005).
The impacts included increased and more rapid mortality, coupled with hormonal non-linear and sex-related effects. Females had developed significant and numerous mammary tumours, pituitary and kidney problems. Males had died mostly from severe hepatorenal chronic deficiencies.
The researchers hypothesized that the reason why NK603 maize; NK603 maize sprayed with Roundup; and Roundup on its own, all produce very similar impacts, is that both the GM maize and Roundup may cause hormonal disturbances in the same biochemical and physiological pathway.
Should consumers be worried over this latest revelation? The accumulating scientific evidences show that consumers should be concerned. These results call into question the adequacy of the current regulatory process for GM crops/food and herbicides. In view of these findings, researchers consider that market authorisations for these products should be immediately reviewed.
In Malaysia the decision to approve MON 603 (NK603) for the food, feed and processing industry was taken prior to the enforcement of the Biosafety Act 2007. The decision was acknowledged by the National Biosafety Board (NBB) on 25 May 2010. Other approvals before the Biosafety Act was enforced were MON810 maize, MON863 maize and MON4032 soybean.
Besides this, on 28 March 2012, the NBB granted approval for release of products of Bt11 corn applied by Syngenta Crop Protection Sdn. Bhd. and A2704-12 soybean applied by Bayer Co. (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. Both applications were for the purpose of food, feed and processing (FFP) and is not to be used as planting material.
The use of GM animal feed is hidden from consumers. As labelling laws differ globally and most products are not labelled adequately, consumers have no way of knowing that they are eating eggs, meat and drinking milk from GM-fed animals. Thus precautionary measures are necessary in the wake of enhanced assessment methods and longer period of animal feeding trials that have found potential health impacts.
In view of the gravity of the latest research findings, we urge the National Biosafety Board to impose a moratorium on all GM product imports for food, feed and processing. Based on new evidences, approvals of GM products for human and animal consumption should be revoked and their status re-evaluated.
Press Statement – 2 October 2012
For more details and pictures, please visit website of Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (www.criigen.org).