A recently published review by researchers at two universities has suggested that there is not enough evidence that GM crops are safe to eat.

Researchers looked at published studies on rats fed GM crops containing one or more of three commonly used GM genes.  Researchers examined studies that investigated the health of these rats by looking at tissues from their digestive tracts under a microscope.  The digestive tract is a likely place for damage to occur from eating these crops.  Researchers considered evidence obtained by looking through a microscope because it is sometimes very difficult to see if there is damage to tissues without using a microscope.  These are called histopathology studies.

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The researchers found 47 crop varieties with one or more of these genes that government regulators had said were safe to eat.  However, no published studies could be found for 81% of those crop varieties.

Of the published studies, most were general health assessments of the GM crop on rat health, but 3/4 of these were done after the crop had been approved as safe to eat by government regulators, with half of the studies published at least 9 years after approval.

The researchers found flaws with all of the studies reviewed.  For example, studies were not consistent or transparent in their methods, investigators didn’t define what they considered to be a toxic or pathological finding, or they were not transparent in what they found.  Many of the studies contained several such faults.

Dr Judy Carman, one of the authors of the review said: “We believe that there is a lack of evidence that these GM crop varieties are safe to eat”.

“The authors of the paper believe that guidelines should be developed as to how these studies should be done so that they can be done properly”, Dr Carman said.

The review was done as a collaboration between researchers at the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, all based in South Australia.

The research was published in the high quality journal: Environment International.  Environment International is an Elsevier journal ranked in the top 4% of environmental science journals by impact factor, rated A* by Excellence in Research for Australia.

Contact for further information:

Dr. Judy Carman: judycarman@ozemail.com.au, phone 0408 480 944 within Australia and 61 408 480 944 outside of Australia.  Please note that she is in the South Australian time zone