THERE HAVE been no peer-reviewed studies on the human health effects of GM food, Michael Meacher MP writes in The Guardian.

The former environment minister criticized the Food Standards Agency for naively relying on biotech company data to prove the safety of GM organisms.

But the biotech companies have so far only compared GM and non-GM products in terms of nutrients, toxins and allergens when testing for safety.

They have not conducted direct trials of the effects of GM foods on human health, Mr Meacher writes.

A few studies have been carried out on animals, and their results are described as “worrying”.

Yet they have never been followed up properly. Instead, they have either been rubbished by the scientific establishment or suppressed, Mr Meacher states.

In spite of all this, the EU is about to approve a GM maize for feed and a GM sweetcorn, which is being introduced under the novel food regulations.

Mr Meacher states that the last words should go to the doctors and quotes the British Medical Association on GM organisms:

“There has not yet been a robust and thorough search into the potentially harmful effect of GM foodstuffs on human health.”

Mr Meacher‘s claims about the lack of studies into the health effects of GM organisms are backed up by a study by Norwegian and Danish scientists (full report – pdf ).

It found that there had only been ten published studies of the health effects of GM food or feed. It also found that the quality of some of these was inadequate.

Over half were undertaken in collaboration with companies (fully or partially), and these found no negative effects on body organs.

The other studies were independent and looked more closely at the effects on the gut lining.

Several of these found potentially negative changes which have not been explained.