GMO Corn Approved in RP Shows Signs of Toxicity, Study Reveals

Mar. 14, 2007

Greenpeace demands immediate withdrawal, moratorium on GMO approvals

Manila/Berlin/Paris, 14 March 2007–A genetically-modified (GM) corn
strain approved for food, feed and processing in the Philippines shows
signs of toxicity to mammals, a new study released today reveals. The
study, and written by a panel of three independent scientists in France,
showed that laboratory rats fed with the GMO corn Monsanto (MON) 863
YieldGard Rootworm displayed kidney and liver toxicity. MON 863 is corn
genetically manipulated to produce its own insecticide called ‘modified
Cry3Bb1’ to kill rootworm insects in the soil, and contains gene coding
for antibiotic resistance.

Entitled ‘New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically
Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity,’ the study is
published this week in the scientific journal “Archives of Environmental
Contamination and Toxicology.” The study analyzed results of safety
tests submitted by Monsanto to the European Commission (EC) when the
company was seeking authorization to market MON 863 in the European
Union. The data shows that significant health risks were associated with
the GMO corn; still, the EC granted licenses to market MON 863 for
consumption by both humans and animals. The incriminating data was
obtained by Greenpeace following a court case, and was passed on for
evaluation by a team of experts headed by Professor Gilles Eric
Sralini, a governmental expert in genetic-engineering from the
University of Caen in France(1).

“This case is especially significant to the Philippines right now in the
light of the Bureau of Plant Industry’s (BPI) claims this week that they
enforce stringent regulatory systems for the approval of GMOs. MON 863
is approved in several countries around the world and was approved in
the Philippines by the BPI in October 2003,” said Greenpeace Southeast
Asia Genetic Engineering Campaigner Daniel Ocampo.

“However, the approval of a GMO is not a guarantee of its safety. The
BPI can repeatedly assure the public that GMOs have passed their
standards–but as this latest evidence shows, these remain empty boasts.
Genetic manipulation of organisms is dangerously unpredictable; no GMO
has ever undergone long-term testing. The MON 863 case is the first time
that a GMO product authorized for use as food for humans and animals has
been shown to have adverse effects on internal organs. It is a clear
warning of the inherent risks of GMOs,” Ocampo added.

The data in question has been the subject of fierce debate since 2003,
when significant changes were identified in the blood of tested animals
fed on MON 863. MON 863 was approved by the EC, despite opposition by a
majority of EU member states who raised concerns over the GMO’s safety.
Professor Sralini’s analysis now scientifically confirms these
concerns. As the study states, “with the present data, it cannot be
concluded that GMO corn MON 863 is a safe product.”

In a joint press conference with Greenpeace in Berlin yesterday,
Professor Sralini also questioned Monsanto’s analyses of MON 863 which
was used as a basis for the approval. “Monsantos analyses do not stand
up to rigorous scrutiny–to begin with, their statistical protocols are
highly questionable. Worse, the company failed to run a sufficient
analysis of the differences in animal weight. Crucial data from urine
tests were concealed in the company’s own publications.”

Greenpeace is demanding the complete and immediate withdrawal of MON 863
corn from the global market and is calling upon governments to undertake
an urgent reassessment of all other authorized GE products, and a strict
review of current testing methods. Greenpeace is also calling for a
moratorium on the approval of GMOs for human consumption.

In the Philippines, 25 GMO food crops (including corn, soybean, sugar
beet, alfalfa, potato, and cotton) have been approved by the BPI for
direct use in food, feed, and processing, while four GMO corn crops are
approved for propagation. Twenty-four of the 29 GMOs approved in the
country are owned by Monsanto. At present, the BPI is reviewing an
application for a GMO strain of rice, LL62, developed by Bayer
Cropscience. Greenpeace has been actively blocking the approval of Bayer
LL62, asserting that the entry of GMO rice in the country’s food chain
will have disastrous consequences on the country’s–and the
world’s–most important food crop.

“This is the final nail in the coffin for the credibility of the current
authorization system for GMO products. Now that it’s known that a system
designed to protect human and animal health has approved a high-risk
product despite clear evidence of its dangers, we need to start
‘strip-searching’ all GMOs in the market,” said Ocampo

“No GMO has ever been proven safe for human consumption. The risks these
manipulated organisms pose to the environment and human health are
simply unacceptable. Clearly, GMOs are not a sound basis for the future
of agriculture. It is time that our government realized that the future
of farming must be grounded on the principles of sustainability and
biodiversity, and which provides all people access to safe and
nutritious food. The MON 863 case is a clear demonstration that GMOs can
never be a viable option,” added Ocampo.

For further information please contact:
Daniel Ocampo, GE campaigner, +63 917 897 6416
Lea Guerrero, Media Campaigner, +63 2 434 7034 loc 104, +63 916 374 4969

Contacts in Europe:
Namrata Chowdhary, Greenpeace Communications: +44 77 261 751 48
CRIIEGN (France):
Prof. Gilles-Eric Sralini, CRIIGEN : +33 231 56 56 84,

Fax copies of the reoprt and related materials available upon request

Notes to Editor:
(1) The article is published online
( by the American
scientific journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and
Toxicology; and is also available at
Thejournal will be printed in May.

A Greenpeace briefing on the study is available at:

For details of how Greenpeace was able to unearth data regarding the MON
863 application, please refer to the Greenpeace paper: “The MON863
casea chronicle of systematic deception”

The analysis team was headed by Professor Sralini from the University
of Caen and included experts from the French independent scientific
organization CRIIGEN (Comit de Recherche et d’Information Indpendantes
sur le gnie GENtique).

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