Review approval of genetically modified foods

CAP calls on the Malaysian government to review four genetically modified (GM) events that have been approved for human and animal consumption in the light of latest findings that reveal potential human and animal toxicity.


The four events (MON810, MON863 and NK603 maize, and GTS-40-3-2 soya) were approved administratively some years ago. At that time of decision, for instance in the case of GTS-40-3-2 (Roundup Ready soya), which was approved in 1998, findings of longer period animal feeding trials were not available to our assessors and regulators to properly assess the risks.

It is important to note that latest research, which is long-term in nature (over the two-year life span of rats), has shown that NK 603 maize provoked chronic hormone and sex dependent effects. Female mortality was two to three times higher mostly due to large mammary tumours and disabled pituitary function. Males suffered effects in the liver and kidney, as well as large palpable tumours.

Signs of liver and kidney toxicity in rats fed MON 810, MON 863 and NK 603 maize were already evident when Monsanto’s raw data for these events were re-analyzed in 2009. In the case of NK 603, these initial signs of toxicity appear to have developed into full-blown liver and kidney damage over the longer two-year period. The first tumours only showed up four to seven months into the study, peaking at 18 months.

The long-term research calls into question approvals of most, if not all, GM foods so far. This is because GM foods worldwide are approved on the basis of rat feeding studies that last 90 days at most. As shown by the NK603 study, the 90-day tests conducted on GM foods are simply too short to see effects that take time to show up, such as organ damage and cancer. None of the four GM events in question have had the benefit of being tested in lifetime feeding studies at the time of their approval in Malaysia, such as has been now done for NK603 maize.

Therefore in view of this new information and evidence, we urge the Malaysian government to review the administrative decisions and subsequent National Biosafety Board acknowledgements relating to these four GM events, pursuant to Section 18(1) of the Biosafety Act 2007 and in accordance with the Precautionary Principle.

Press Statement – 4 February 2013