European Food Safety Authority identifies toxic gene in Genetically Modified Crop

Presence of segments of Gene VI create proteins that are deadly to humans.

By SEAN POULTER | MAIL ONLINE | JANUARY 23, 2013

A virus gene that could be poisonous to humans has been missed when GM food crops have been assessed for safety.

GM crops such as corn and soya, which are being grown around the world for both human and farm animal consumption, include the gene.

A new study by the EU’s official food watchdog, the European Food Safety Authority(EFSA), has revealed that the international approval process for GM crops failed to identify the gene.

As a result, watchdogs have not investigated its impact on human health and the plants themselves when assessing whether they were safe.

The findings are particularly powerful because the work was carried out by independent experts, rather than GM critics.

It was led by Nancy Podevin, who was employed by EFSA, and Patrick du Jardin, of the Plant Biology Unit at the University of Liege in Belgium.

They discovered that 54 of the 86 GM plants approved for commercial growing and food in the US, including corn and soya, contain the viral gene, which is known as ‘Gene VI’.

In this country, these crops are typically fed to farm animals producing meat, milk and eggs.

Significantly, the EFSA researchers concluded that the presence of segments of Gene VI ‘might result in unintended phenotypic changes’.

Such changes include the creation of proteins that are toxic to humans. They could also trigger changes in the plants themselves, making them more vulnerable to pests.

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France to ban Syngenta Pesticide

AFP | JUNE 2, 2012

The French government is to ban a pesticide made by Swiss giant Syngenta used in rapeseed cultivation that has been found to shorten bees’ lifespan, Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said Friday.

“I have warned the group that sells Cruiser that I envisage withdrawing the licence to market,” Le Foll said after the National Food, Environment and Work Safety Agency (ANSES) issued a damning report on the pesticide.

The Swiss chemical giant has 15 days to respond to the ANSES report’s conclusion that the pesticide shortens bees’ lifespans.

“ANSES’s report brings in new elements and clearly shows the harmful effect of this product on bees’ mortality and I want to take into account what has been said,” Le Foll said.

The minister said he would raise the possibility of a European Union-wide ban with the European Commission and the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA).

The ANSES report was called for in March after the journal Science published a French study demonstrating the harmful effects on bees of broad-spectrum insecticide thiamethoxam, found in Cruiser.