Expert questions safety of GMOs
GMO cells could develop into cancer
GENETICALLY modified foods have a dark cloud hanging over them due to lack of safety testing according to Dr Judy Carman.
She has been researching and studying GMOs for the past 15 years and some of her recent experiments found some concerning side-effects.
She recently spoke at the GMOs and Food Safety forum in Rockhampton, where she highlighted some of the safety issues.
She said very little safety testing is done on GM products.
“The government body doesn’t have laboratories in Australia, so the testing is done by the companies,” she said.
“They get the information from them and they have no requirements to give regulators all of their findings.
“There could be hidden problems but they wouldn’t know because they don’t go looking for them.”
In the past Dr Carman has done testing on pigs and, most recently, rats.
During the trials the pigs and rats were both split into two groups where their diets would be exactly the same.
The only difference – one group consumed GM feed.
“The test on pigs came about after a colleague in the United States said they were seeing a lot of reproductive and digestive issues in their swine,” she said.
“So we went to the US and did the testing for five months.”
After the pigs had been on their allocated diets they were slaughtered at an abattoir and their insides were closely assessed.
“We found two things,” she said.
“Firstly, the weight of the uterus in the females had increased by 25 per cent.
“Secondly, we found severe stomach inflammation and both of those things were found in the animals on the GM diet.”
Dr Carman said they couldn’t see changes in the reproductive system of the male pigs because of the conditions of slaughter.
In July 2018, Dr Carman released her findings on a similar trial done on rats fed genetically modified corn.
“We fed the rats for six months and again found issues in the rats on the GM diet,” she said.
“One of the things we found was again in the stomachs –
❝The government body doesn’t have laboratories in Australia, so the testing is done by the companies. — Dr Judy Carman
the tight junctions which hold the stomach lining together and prevent leaks had gaps in them.”
Dr Carman said the pits that produce stomach mucus had issues as well.
“There are two glands at the bottom of each pit and both of them were quite swollen,” she said.
“We did see a couple of these in the non-GM rats but it was quite significant in the
While the stomach problems were alarming, it was the discovery of abnormal cells that concerned Dr Carman.
“This made the situation far worse. We found cells that could develop into cancer,” she said.
“The dysplasia took place in finding cells where they shouldn’t have been.
“I’m not saying they will
develop into cancer, but there is the possibility they can and there’s the possibility they can’t.”
Dr Carman said her concerns lie with the harm that could be done to people.
“With things such as pharmaceutical drugs – if they aren’t safe, not everyone is exposed to them because they are taken away. With GMs it’s the exact opposite,” she said.
“Before fruit and vegetables are released into the market, they are held so they can be washed and herbicides can wear off and then any excess can usually be washed off at home.
“Genetically modified crops have the herbicides engineered into them so if grubs eat them it kills them.
“Imagine what that could be doing to people.”
She said she believed GM foods should follow a testing procedure similar to pharmaceuticals.
“In medicine, when independent people do the testing – that’s when the problems are found,” she said.
“They need to do independent research to prove these foods are safe.
“They definitely need more safety measures in place before they are consumed.”
Dr Judy Carman.
SAFE FOOD? Dr Carman said the GM results were alarming.
GMO FORUM: Concerned farmers got to learn more about GMOs at the forum in Rockhampton.