Monsanto says its lab-crafted plant varieties are the key to feeding the world. But like an anxious dinner guest wondering which eccentric relative’s recipe crackles ominously in the casserole dish, the world is politely saying no thanks.
In the wake of a new study linking GMO corn with cancer, Russia has banned the importation of the genetically modified strain, while French and European regulators have begun official reviews. The Monsanto NK603 corn is designed to regard its primary symbiotic relationship the one it develops in the field with Roundup, Monsanto’s ubiquitous herbicide, rather than with nature.
The U.K.’s Daily Mail reports: “Historically, biotech companies have proved the safety of GM crops based on trials involving feeding rats for a period of 90 days. However, experts at the University of Caen conducted an experiment running for the full lives of rats — two years. The findings, which were peer reviewed by independent experts before being published in a respected scientific journal, found raised levels of breast cancer, liver and kidney damage. The same trials also found evidence that consumption of minuscule amounts of a commonly used weedkiller, Roundup, was associated with a raised risk of cancer.”
The French news agency AFP delved deeper into the study: “The researchers found that NK603 and Roundup both caused similar damage to the rats’ health, whether they were consumed together or on their own. Premature deaths and sickness were concentrated especially among females. At the 14-month stage of experiment, no animals in the control groups showed any signs of cancer, but among females in the ‘treated’ groups, tumours affected between 10 and 30 percent of the rodents. By the beginning of the 24th month, 50-80 percent of female animals had developed tumours in all treated groups, with up to three tumours per animal . . . Males which fell sick suffered liver damage, developed kidney and skin tumours and digestive problems.”
The study wasn’t just bad news for the rodents, but also for their less charming cousins, the political animals at giant chemical corporations who are trying hard this election season to defeat a California ballot initiative that would force the honest labeling of food products containing GMO ingredients.
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