GMO corn eaten and planted in Philippines potentially toxic, scientists warn

Jun. 25, 2007

Greenpeace demands immediate market withdrawal, moratorium on GMO approvals

MANILA — Another genetically-modified (GM) corn variety,
approved for food, feed, processing, and propagation in the Philippines
has been shown by studies to be potentially toxic to humans. The new
research, carried out by a French scientific research institute(1),
involves biotech firm Monsantos NK603 GMO corn (marketed commercially
under the name Round-up Ready) which was approved as food and feed in
the country in 2003, and for propagation in 2005.

The scientific study released this week highlights 60 significant
differences between laboratory rats fed with the GMO corn NK603 and
those fed with normal corn for 90 days. The first group showed
differences in their kidney, brain, heart and liver measurements, as
well as significant weight differences which may be potential warning
signs of toxicity.

This new study on the GMO corn NK603 shows that the scientific evidence
on dangerous GMO health risks is piling up. It also shows that the
current system that evaluates the safety of GMOs cannot be trusted.
Greenpeace is demanding that the Department of Agriculture (DA)
immediately withdraw this and other GMOs from the market and revoke
their approval, as well as enact a moratorium on all other GMO
approvals, said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Genetic Engineering
Campaigner Daniel Ocampo.

Last March, a similar study concluded that another Monsanto GMO corn,
MON863, also approved as food in the Philippines, was also potentially
harmful to humans. Greenpeace says that this latest study has now cast
further doubt over the approval process of GMOs, and is demanding an
immediate market withdrawal and a moratorium on GMO approvals.

The DA has been under heavy criticism from Greenpeace over its decision
to retain the approval of the said GMO corn MON863, which was proven to
have adverse effects on the liver and kidneys of mammals. Although the
government agency has publicly committed to a reevaluation of the GMO,
no disclosure has been made so far regarding developments in their

The DA cannot continue its careless attitude toward GMOs and expose
humans to unacceptable health risks which clearly they are in a position
to prevent, said Ocampo.

The corn is also under scrutiny in the EU. The scientists who conducted
the study analyzed Monsanto’s own test results, which had informed the
EU food safety authority’s decision to approve the corn for sale. Their
report (2) suggests that a far more thorough investigation is necessary.
Neither Monsanto nor the scientific committees consulted on the
feeding trials disputed the differences found in the test animals
compared to the control group. However, they dismissed the results as
“not of biological significance”. The study questions that conclusion.

As in the EU, safety assessment of GMOs in the Philippines also rely on
analysis submitted by the GMO companies themselves.

“It is alarming that a company which produces a genetically-engineered
crop not only gets to design and conduct the safety tests of its own
product, but also to analyze the results. The lack of any independent
scrutiny of test data suggests that risk assessment procedures overlook
the threats and do not assess risks at all, just rubberstamping company
dossiers,” said Ocampo.

Greenpeace campaigns for GE-free crop and food production grounded on
the principles of sustainability, protection of biodiversity, and
providing all people access to safe and nutritious food.
Genetic-engineering is an unnecessary and unwanted technology that
contaminates the environment, threatens biodiversity, and poses
unacceptable risks to health.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: INBOX is an archive of press releases, statements, announcements, letters to the editors, and manifestos sent to Davao Today for publication. Please email your materials to davaotoday @ Davao Today is not responsible for the content of these materials. The opinion expessed in these items does not reflect those of Davao Today and its staff. Please refer to our terms of use/disclaimer.

comments powered by Disqus