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Health Risks

Overviews of the health risks from GMO food

Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods, from the British medical journal The Lancet; concludes, “Governments should never have allowed these products into the food chain without insisting on rigorous testing for effects on health.”

Genetic Engineering and Omitted Health Research, a virologist and biologist outline some unanswered questions about the health risks of GMO food; published by Third World Network.

Food Safety of GM Crops in Canada: Toxicity and Allergenicity, background from a University of Guelph professor on the lack of safety testing on GMO foods.

GMO Food Health Effects, Center for Food Safety. Background briefing from the nonprofit food safety advocate.

Health Risks of GM Foods: Many Opinions But Few Data, letter published in Science showing that searching the peer-reviewed literature found virtually no studies demonstrating the safety of GMO foods.

review of ten published studies finds that five industry backed studies found no health effects from GMO foods, while five by independent scientists found potential harm to animals fed GMOs. The authors conclude that “…much more scientific effort and investigation is necessary before we can be satisfied that eating foods containing GM material in the long term is not likely to provoke any form of health problems.” Published in the journal Nutrition and Health.

Health Effects: Specific Issues


Allergies to Transgenic Foods, NE Journal of Medicine editorial on potential for unexpected allergies from GMO foods.

An Australian pea study showing that an unexpected allergy risk scuttled plans for a GMO pea plant; also see the video showing the GMO scientists boasting about how safe the pea would be to eat.

A review of the Australian study by Friends of the Earth, outlining how FDA fails to require testing that would uncover such health risks.

A study from the Institute for Food Safety of the Netherlands finds that many proteins from GMO crops have stretches of 6-7 amino acids that are identical to those from allergenic proteins; the researchers state their findings suggest there should be “further clinical testing [of GMOs] for potential allergenicity.”

Consumers Union on potential allergies from GMO “Bt” crops, and more specific concerns about GMO “StarLink” Bt corn.


Antibiotic resistance

On transgenic plants and antibiotic resistance, published paper by the Director of the unit on antibiotics of France’s Pasteur Institute.

An Open Letter to Novartis, urging the company to end marketing of GMO corn using antibiotic resistance genes; signed by more than 2,000 physicians and other healrh professionals.

Anitbiotic resistance in GM Foods, a background briefing by Friends of the Earth.

Horizontal Gene Transfer-DNA in the Soil: a Harvard biologist on the potential for genes, including genes for antibiotic resistance, to transfer from GMO crops in the environment.

A study showing antibiotic resistance genes from a GMO crop remained detectable in soil for four months; published in the journal Molecular Ecology.

In a lab study, soil bacteria acquired antibiotic resistance genes from a GMO plant.


Toxicity and Altered Nutritional Characteristics

A review of Monsanto data reveals that a GMO corn variety induced signs of liver and kidney toxicity in rat feeding trials; see also an overview of the paper by Greenpeace.

 A GMO dietary supplement, tryptophan, causes thousands of serious illnesses and unknown number of deaths.

A lab study on GMO yeast finds increased levels of a toxic compound, an unexpected side-effect of the GMO process. The researchers conclude that their results “…may raise some questions regarding the safety and acceptability of genetically engineered food, and give some credence to the many consumers who are not yet prepared to accept food produced using gene engineering techniques.”

A study from the Journal of Medicinal Foods shows that GMO soybeans contain altered levels of clinically significant nutrients.


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