The Physics Police

The Physics Police

Monday, February 25, 2013

GMO Food Safety

There is a lot of misinformation floating about the web regarding the politically charged topic Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and food-safety. Here, I will chronicle such false and/or misleading claims, as I come up against them. Hopefully someone out there will appreciate my personal journey to elucidate the facts behind the lies told in the interest of scaring gullible people.

Velimirov et al. 2008

This study was cited as a source in some trashy blog (which I refuse to link to), parading the fear that GMO corn could cause sterility in humans. The study examined the reproductive outcomes, organs, and DNA of mice (not humans!) fed GMO corn (NK603 and MON810). The study reported that a diet of GMO corn:
... affected the reproduction of mice.
And that:
... differences between the groups became obvious in the 3rd and 4th litters.
In march, 2010, the study was finally withdrawn (Source) by the Austrian government.

I found one response which identified many of the same flaws with the experiment as I noticed upon slogging through the 105 page paper:

  • The mice fed non-GMO corn were underweight!
  • The mice fed GMO corn lived longer! (15.7 in control, 17.0 in GM group)
  • A lot of mice seemed to die! (1% mortality is normal, 8% was reported)
  • The two most important tables involving reproduction contained errors! (Fraud...?)

Most importantly, the study was never published in any peer reviewed journal!

Verdict? Debunked.

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