September 2012 will be seen as the month when the balance finally tipped against GM in the UK.
The new peer-reviewed study from the University of Caen published last week in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology may start a revolution. It got front page coverage in The Grocer, and graphic pictures of rats with tumours in the Daily Mail. It’s also triggered a call from the French government for tougher regulation and an investigation from the European Food Safety Agency.
It’s a simple message. Rats fed on GM maize and/or on water contaminated at permitted levels with Roundup (the herbicide to which the maize is resistant) got more tumours, sooner, and died younger.
Of course the usual suspects have jumped in to rubbish the study – not enough rats involved, the researchers were biased.
So, let’s do more tests, but with funding from government not industry. Let’s recognise that the standard 90 day feeding trial which has been used to give GM the all clear may be too short to pick up long term damaging health effects – just like asbestos may cause health problems thirty years after exposure.
Meantime, let’s keep Roundup and GM maize out of the human food chain, just like we’ve been doing with BSE and with areas of land contaminated by Chernobyl – just in case. And that’s why Whitmuir has a few weeds in the car park – better than Roundup in the river.
It’s great that the Scottish Government has maintained its opposition to GM – and the next logical step is for food labelling to show if animals have been fed with GM crops. While we’re waiting for this, buy organic meat, milk and eggs because GM feed is banned in organic production.
This is about trust, and who we trust with what we eat. Ordinary people lost trust in the banks, and this month they lost trust in big companies more interested in making a profit than making sure their products are safe.
Pete Ritchie www.whitmuirtheorganicplace.co.uk