Better Corn. CC photo by Flickr user smaku

Published on January 12th, 2010 | by Becky Striepe

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Study Links GM Corn Consumption to Organ Damage






A recent E.U. study found that rats who’s diets included different strains of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) corn experienced kidney, liver, and other organ damage.


[social_buttons]The study looked at three strains of Monsanto’s GM corn: one that was “Roundup Ready” and two that were engineered to produce Bt toxin which acts as an insecticide.

Because Monsanto’s seeds are patented, researchers had to use data that came from the GM giant itself, rather than conducting their own research. Researchers had to actually take Monsanto to court to get their hands on the data for analysis!

They found that after just 90 days, the rats in the study began to show symptoms. The male rats had stronger reactions across the board than female ones. In addition to affecting the heart and liver, the researchers found “some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells.”

In concluding their writeup of the study, the researchers added:

These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown.
[...]
Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver as particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM maize varieties for just 90 days.

Get Heard

Want to let the FDA know how you feel about genetically modified corn? Over at Change.org, you can sign a letter, to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg asking the agency to take action.

In the meantime, you might want to add corn to your list of foods to always buy organic. Avoiding conventional corn is a little bit tricky, since corn-derived ingredients like high fructose corn syrup are so ubiquitous.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by smaku

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • http://thecrunchycoach.com/blog Emily

    Eat something the body doesn’t recognize as food, then get something other than optimum health.

  • http://www.openlybalanced.com Jess @OpenlyBalanced

    This is the kind of thing that really concerns me about GMOs. I am not anti-progress or anti-science, but it doesn’t seem like sufficient testing has been performed or, if it has, it may have been buried on purpose.

    And corn is the worst – nearly impossible to avoid as corn or some kind of corn derivative is in almost everything!

  • http://www.travel-writers-exchange.com/ Trisha Miller

    It’s even worse than most people realize – Monsanto has a stranglehold on most corn farmers – they can be sued if they don’t buy seed from Monsanto every year – they are NOT allowed to keep any of their seed from a crop. If you REALLY want an eye-opener, rent and watch “Food, Inc.” – totally changed how I shop & eat…..best documentary since Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – Food, Inc. should be winning awards, but the food lobby is working hard to keep people from even hearing about it.

  • http://yellowrex.com William Furr

    This is a weird contrast with some other recent posts on this site that were championing GM crops for their potential to reduce fertilizer and herbicide use.

  • Dan

    The study was by Seralini, using the same methodology as a 2007 study that was completely discredited by the European Food Safety Authority… why should we believe this one?

  • http://extremegreenvillage.com Bob Henry

    I am shocked by one thing. The statement in the article.

    Because Monsanto’s seeds are patented, researchers had to use data that came from the GM giant itself, rather than conducting their own research. Researchers had to actually take Monsanto to court to get their hands on the data for analysis!

    Not trying to be difficult but aren’t these seeds for sale?

    I am on the side of GM food if it benefits mankind. There is a fight against GM food. But how is the money being spent?

    To me the simplest way to fight against GM foods is to test them.

    Do it simply, scientifically and as cheaply as possible.

    All this other stuff is helping lawyers get rich.

    If you want to spend money fighting Monsanto, fight to change the laws that allow a super restrictive control of seed. Of course that is just a thought. There may be a logical reason for restricting the use of second generation GM corn seed. But I don’t know that.

  • Michael

    So i have some issues with this article and feel it might be kind of misleading. First off were the types of corn tested here even meant for human consumption? At least two of the three corns are used to make BT Toxin(a bacteria) which is used as a pesticide.The tests were only conducted once. Only one type of animal was used in the study. The rats used had a genetic disposition to suffer organ damage. Also the length of the tests were not really long enough to prove anything (at least 2 years rather than a max of 3 months). So although there should be more testing into this matter it seems as though assuming all genetically modified corn is unsafe and will give us all horrible cancer and birth defects is a bit unreasonable.

  • http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com Steve Savage

    Becky,

    I’ve just posted an alternative viewpoint on this issue:
    http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2010/01/13/if-theres-a-toxin-in-the-food-supply-but-no-corporation-to-blame-is-it-still-a-problem/#more-2732

    Interpretation of high rate, rodent feeding studies is notoriously difficult, but rather than argue methodology I thought I would try to put this new “finding” in perspective. I’d be interested in your thoughts.

    By the way, I liked your Thermos cooking post.

    Steve

  • Mike

    This is not European Union research…it was conducted by “scientists” who have been heavily criticized by other legitimate research bodies in Europe. If you read the report, these “scientists” go to great lengths to defend their work and accuse others, including French government researchers (no friends of GMOs), of ignoring their methods.

    Essentially, it is junk science designed to make their hypothesis work out.

  • http://glueandglitter.com Becky Striepe

    Thanks, Steve! I’ll go check it out.

  • Penne

    In response to Bob Henry, the reason there is few studies other than those by the company is since Monsanto owns the patents they refuse to sell the seeds for anything but growing (it’s in the extensive contracts that also require purchase of Monsanto’s supporting products such as Round-Up which they no longer have exclusive patents on). Any farmer who provides seed to someone who might use them for studies or testing will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the Monsanto law, which is strategic in bankrupting the farmer, forcing him/her to sign a gag order and sowing fear in surrounding farmers. Monsanto is controlling the message and protecting their propaganda.

    Please see this NY Times article on scientists protesting the hindering by Monsanto:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/business/20crop.html

    And this article from Vanity Fair on Monsanto’s compliance tactics:
    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/monsanto200805

  • a biochemist

    If you people actually read the study, you would find that your article is erroneous. They analyzed data using different statistical methods than the original companies…however upfront and at the beginning they scrutinized the experimental setup and concluded that any results obtained from the low number of rats used could not be statistically significant. They then proceeded to use this bad raw data to create statistically significant ill effects that fit their agenda.

    Fucking non-scientists reporting on scientific papers. Stop it you are making the world dumber.

  • http://www.livablefutureblog.com Dave

    Hi Becky, thanks for raising awareness of the issue. I wrote post for my work blog at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future w/ much the same take on the issue, which may be of interest: http://tiny.cc/Bhslk

  • T Saxon

    It is interesting to me that very few people understand the implications of GM food. It’s kind of like math. We don’t get it. We don’t get it in the same way we don’t get how paying the minimum balance on a credit card will keep us permanently in debt. Companies that already have enough clout to buy all the advertising and politicians they want are not in a position to be responsible. They need an outside source of checks and balances. We the people need to be responsible for not buying or eating food contaminated with genetic modification because whether or not it is dangerous we have no way of knowing. What we do know is that someone is making a killing foisting it on a mass population without that population fully understanding how it works and without long term research done by laboratories without a vested interest in the outcome.

  • http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com Steve Savage

    In case anyone has been following this, the study is being dismissed as “junk science”. The authors did not actually conduct an experiment at all, they simply cherry picked data from a Monsanto study to get the finding they wanted. This was published in a journal that does not even count for tenure which probably means they couldn’t get it into a real journal. Their claim that they couldn’t get samples to run a study is bogus. They were talking about the seed and the license limitations on that, but what animals or people eat is not the seed (f1 hybrid) but the grain from that seed (f2 hybrid) which could be purchased from any of thousands of growers (its just grain). This is a simple case of “agenda science” and its uncritical acceptance by people who have already made up their minds. This is even flimsier than the vaccine/autism study that was just finally withdrawn.

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