GMO Corn May Cause Tumors, Organ Damage

Posted Mon, 12/24/2012 - 2:03pm by Camilla Cheung

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A controversial study, the longest-term study of GMO corn to date, points to disturbing evidence that genetically-modified corn may not be as safe to consume as previously thought.

The French study, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, spans two years, the longest study to date of genetically-modified corn (most industry studies span only 90 days), and revealed some troubling results. Lab rats were split into groups, and each group was fed either genetically-modified Roundup-Ready corn, Roundup-Ready corn that had been treated with the pesticide Roundup, or non-GMO corn and Roundup-contaminated water.

Researchers found that the rats developed disturbing health problems — in particular, the female rats developed massive mammary tumors and all of the rats suffered kidney and liver damage. About 50 percent of the male rats and 70 percent of the female rats died prematurely, compared to 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group.

The results of the study have spawned a great deal of controversy in both pro-GMO and anti-GMO groups. Admittedly, the study is flawed in that the sample size was very small — there were only 10 rats in the control group — which causes many to dismiss the results as statistically insignificant. In addition, the breed of rat used is particularly prone to developing mammary tumors. These flaws have led many to dismiss the study's claims.

However, the study, flawed as it is, is the longest-term study to date of genetically-modified corn, highlighting the fact that we know very little about the long-term effects of eating genetically-modified food. Industry studies typically last only 90 days, but the rats in this study only started exhibiting health problems after 90 days.

The Food and Drug Administration categorizes GMO products as "generally regarded as safe", which means that they do not cause severe and immediately noticeable effects. However, the long-term chronic effects of the products are not known.

Although the study does not produce indisputable evidence that GMOs are bad for us, it may cause consumers to think twice about their food supply. Nearly all conventional corn and soy in the US are genetically-modified, and the corn and soy find their way into a multitude of processed foods. If you are concerned about the long-term effects of genetically-modified products, you may wish to buy organic produce, which in the US, is non-GMO. Until we know more, buying organic may be the safer option.

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