Ex­pert ques­tions safety of GMOs

GMO cells could de­velop into can­cer

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - GEORDI OFFORD Geordi.offord@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

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

other group.”

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.”

PHOTO: FACE­BOOK

Dr Judy Car­man.

PHOTO: ISTOCK

SAFE FOOD? Dr Car­man said the GM re­sults were alarm­ing.

PHOTO: GEORDI OFFORD

GMO FORUM: Con­cerned farm­ers got to learn more about GMOs at the forum in Rock­hamp­ton.

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