Submitted by Dr. Robert Lucas
Dr. Robert D. Lucas
2nd September, 2018
On page 14 of the Nation newspaper of the 18th.August 2016, there was a paid advertisement by an entity called Niven Wholesale. The advertisement claimed that, the consumption of genetically modified (GM’s) foods have been linked to the development of cancers in humans and animals. It further stated” that Canaillou is GM free and has been formulated by Vets.
It appears that the advertisement refers to one study which was published in November 2012, by Gilles-Eric Seralini and others of the University of Caen, France, in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology. The study was entitled “Long Term toxicity of Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup Tolerant Genetically Modified Maize.” This study has been shown to be flawed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and Food Standard Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) to name a few regulatory organizations. The authors of the study used Sprague Dawley rats in their study. These rats are prone to develop cancers naturally; the numbers of cancers increase with increasing age. Secondly, the sample size (number of rats used 10) was found to be inadequate and therefore made statistical analysis of the data of limited value. In chemical risk analysis of suspected carcinogens, large doses of the suspected carcinogen are fed to animals at levels several orders of magnitude greater than any human can consume in one life time. In animal–model studies, two important parameters have to be established: the no observable effect level (NOEL) and the lowest observable effect level (LOEL). The LOEL is the lowest level at which a suspected carcinogen causes cancer. In animal-model studies of cancer, LOEL dose levels are very high. Another draw-back to the use of animal-model studies is the fact the researchers have to extrapolate animal results to fit human conditions. There are inherent difficulties when this is done; what causes cancer in rats may not cause cancers in humans’.
The EFSA, the Food and Drug Administration of the USA (FDA) have all stated that GM foods are safe. Indeed, GM foods undergo more food safety testing than other conventional foods. I wonder if Niven Whole Sale would advocate that Barbadians cease the use insulin derived from genetically modified E.coli bacteria. The advertisement is an example of the dissemination of incomplete data which is being used to influence consumer choice. The local regulatory body ought to deal with the matter.
Robert D. Lucas, PH.D., CFS.