Claims on GM safety should be held to the same level of scientific scrutiny as biotech product approvals

    20 September 2012

    Today, a document entitled ‘Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize’ was published in the ‘Food and Chemical Toxicology’ review.

    The plant science industry is committed to the highest standards of testing and safety for its products. It takes all health concerns regarding biotech food and feed seriously.

    At present, specialists are thoroughly studying the research before commenting further on the scientific value of its content.

    Many long-term studies have confirmed the safety of GMOs. Such studies have been carried-out using rodents but also other animals by scientific researchers from all parts of the world. No toxic effect has been reported, according to international and Australian food safety agencies.

    Biotech crops are rigorously tested for safety prior to commercialisation. In Australia, approved GM products all go through a rigorous safety assessment by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) as well as Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

    European Commission funded-research from 130 projects involving 500 independent research groups over 25 years concluded that “There is, as of today, no scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms.”

    Since 1996, over 2 trillion meals containing GM ingredients have been eaten around the world and in Australia without a single substantiated case of ill-health to humans or animals. The World Health Organisation has said that: “No effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved”.

    Media should be aware of the track record of the papers’ authors

    Media reporting this story should be aware that some of the researchers behind the study are closely associated with anti-GM campaigning groups. Reuters today stated that “the lead researcher’s past record as a critic of the industry may make other experts wary of drawing hasty conclusions” and wrote that “In an unusual move, the research group did not allow reporters to seek outside comment on their paper before its publication