Thursday, August 29, 2013

Top researchers highlight GM health risks on UK tour

For release 27th August 2013

A leading French scientist and a Danish farmer who have examined the health risks posed by GM foods will be sharing their alarming discoveries on a UK speaking tour between 2nd and 8th September. Together with other speakers they will attend public meetings in Edinburgh, London, Manchester and Newport, and also hold discussions with UK, Welsh and Scottish parliamentarians. [1]

Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini will present the results of his toxicology study on Monsanto’s GM maize (NK603) and Roundup herbicide. His long-term feeding study published in September 2012, found that these widely available products caused organ damage, increased rates of tumours and premature death in rats.

The story was suppressed in the UK through intensive biotech industry lobbying efforts. However, a scientific and public debate followed that led to announcements by the European Commission and French government in July 2013 that they were commissioning new long-term studies on the potential health risks of GM food and feed.

Danish pig farmer, Ib Borup Pedersen routinely observed the detrimental effects of GM soy feed on his herd. He also noticed a relationship between Roundup herbicide residues and stillbirths and malformations in his pig litters. Pedersen’s findings, released in April 2012, caused much discussion in Europe’s largest pig industry and led to the Danish government commissioning new research on the safety GM feed.

Other speakers at specific events include David Murphy and Lisa Stokke, the founders of Food Democracy Now!, a citizens and farmers movement which campaigns on GM health risks in North America.[2]

This speaking tour is part of GM Health Risks Week, which will directly challenge the UK government's openly supportive stance on GM technology and disregard of the mounting evidence that GM foods and feeds pose health risks.

This year, government ministers led by Food and Environment Secretary, Owen Patterson announced their intention of forcing the EU to relax regulations on GM crops. In addition, David Cameron pledged £395 million from the UK Aid budget to support private initiatives involved in spreading GM crops in Africa. The US government is also trying to force GM food and animal feed into Europe through the US-EU free trade agreement, and looks to the UK as an ally in its negotiations.

GM Health Risk Week has been organized by individuals, voluntary groups and  NGOs who feel that the emerging information about the health risk posed by GM is being ignored by the UK government.[3]
1Welsh farmer Gerald Miles, a member of the organizing committee, commented:

"Many attempts have been made to suppress or discredit the findings of Prof Seralini and Mr Pedersen relating to the negative health effects of GMOs in the diet. Other researchers who have called into question the safety of GMOs face similar orchestrated industry attacks. As a result the UK public is being misled about the risks of GM technology.

Lawrence Woodward of Citizens Concerned About GM added, “We believe that we must take the hype and industry spin out of the GM health risk debate. Farmers and members of the public need accurate and unbiased information from those who have no commercial interest in either the success or the failure of the GM industry."

Claire Robinson of GM Watch stated, “No study is perfect, but Prof Seralini’s is the longest and most thorough to date on a GM food and its associated pesticide. Its much more robust than the industry studies carried out in support of GMO approvals that claim to show safety. We ignore its findings at our peril”.

Notes to the Editor
For media enquiries and for print and broadcast interviews with speakers, please
email: or call Lucy Michaels on 07778-768266.
For comment please contact media spokespeople directly:
Claire Robinson (GM Watch): 07527 536923
Lawrence Woodward (Citizens Concerned About GM): 07967 305791
Gerald Miles, farmer: 07879 664703
[1] Speaking tour dates
Edinburgh (2nd -3rd September)
London (4th – 5th September)
Manchester (5th September)
Cardiff (6th September)
[2] See press background pack attached for:
a) Full itinerary
b) Full list of speakers and speaker biographies.
c) Full background on Seralini’s research
[3] GM Health Risk Week has come out of discussions between concerned individuals and grassroots organisations. Participating organisations include:
Citizens Concerned About GM; GM-free Cymru; GM-free Scotland; Fife Diet; Food
Democracy Now!; The Gaia Foundation; Scotland against Monsanto; The
Sheepdrove Trust and War on Want. Supporting organisations include the UK
Food Sovereignty Movement; The Sustainable Food Trust; Seed Freedom; The
Soil Association and World Development Movement.

2Press background pack
a) GM Health Risks Week - Full speaker itinerary
Edinburgh (2nd – 3rd September)
"A GM-Free Scotland?"

We’re proud of a GM-Free Scotland, but what would relaxing regulations on GM mean for our health? And what risks might we be exposed to at this moment by GM animal food?
When: Mon September 2 19:00 - 20:30
Where: Chrystal MacMillan Building, University of Edinburgh, George Square,
Scottish Parliamentary Briefing hosted by Jean Urquhart

Prof Séralini will give a 30-minute presentation of his most recent research study into the toxicity of Monsanto’s genetically modified NK603 maize and Roundup pesticide. We will then open up for questions and discussion. A briefing paper will be provided to attendees.
When: Tue September 3 12:30 - 13:30
Where: TG.20-21, Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, EH99 1SP
London (4th – 5th September)
Dealing with New Evidence on GMO Safety
Expert Briefing and Discussion: All Welcome

A look at new information on the safety of GM crops and how well (or how badly)it is assessed by regulators.
When: Wed September 4 14:00 - 15:30
Where: Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster, London

GM Health Risks? An evening of new evidence
With Environment Minister Owen Paterson backing GM, this is a chance to
discuss key issues with the author of the most detailed GM feeding study to date.
When: Wed September 4 19:00 - 20:30
Where: Senate House, Malet Street, London
Manchester (5th September)

“GM: The Future of Farming?”
An opportunity to hear researchers, farmers and food campaigners discuss their
direct experience with GM technology.
When: Thu September 5 18:00 - 20:00
Where: Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester
3Newport, Wales (6th September)

“What They Don’t Tell You About GM Animal Feed”
A unique opportunity to hear from international research scientist Prof. GillesEric Seralini about the potential consequences of using GM animal feed.
When: Fri September 6 19:00 - 21:00
Where: Room A15 (Ground Floor), University of South Wales, Newport City
Campus, Usk Way, Newport, NP20 2BP
Note: More events TBC. Stay up to date with changes by joining our mailing
list or following us on twitter @GMHRW

[b] Speaker biographies
Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini is Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Caen and resident of the CRII-GEN Scientific Board (Committee of Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering). He has earned numerous accolades for his expertise on GMO and his activities in favour of an independent and ethical scientific evaluation of the technology. See section [c] for more background on his research.
Ib Borup Pedersen4

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