GMOs & Health

Les OGM et leurs pesticides associés sont-ils suffisamment bien évalués dans leur toxicité réelle ? Quel impact sur la santé des consommateurs ? Le Criigen analyse ces questions avec la plus grande indépendance.

Analysis of the FAO Report by Jean-Paul GUYOMARC'H

Friday 4 April 2008

Analysis of the FAO Report by Jean-Paul GUYOMARC'H

According to FAO not only is Organic Agriculture capable of feeding the whole planet, but it can do so without harming the Environment while considerably limiting the issue of global warming. 

How will the various governments react to such a claim? 


Two possibilities: 

1. Either, they will either say that the leaders of FAO have completely lost their minds and their experts have given in to an acute crisis of attachment to the past or that they have been bribed by some secret power which is trying to destroy the foundations of the modern, progressive and civilised Western Society. In that case, it seems extremely urgent that State Members cease immediately financing such an international institution whose ramifications are spreading all over the planet and risk to destabilize the civilized world. Indeed, the FAO, or  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, is an organization representing 189 Member States (plus the European Community) and it is financed by the contributions of its members and it employs 3600 people all over the planet.

2. Or they will say that FAO is completely right. And this possibility sends me shivers down my back, as it implies that for 60 years, multinational agro-chemistry corporations have, in complicity of some corrupted administrations within states, deliberately lied and ravaged the earth while promoting a highly toxic type of agriculture which has:
  • Poisoned humanity and domestic animals with thousands of pesticides
  • Poisoned ground waters and rivers
  • Destroyed nearly all food biodiversity
  • Produced food free from nutritious substances
  • Established generalised food insecurity and particularly in poor countries
  • Destroyed small peasantry
  • Destroyed tropical forests to implement monocultures
  • Induced irreversible erosion and worldwide desertification processes
  • Exhausted water resources
  • Released vast quantities of CO2 in the atmosphere 

Friends of the Earth Report

Thursday 3 April 2008


A new Friends of the Earth Report, MDRGF* informed us, reveals that GMOs have led to a massive increase in the use of pesticides, that they have not contributed in increasing yields nor alleviated hunger or poverty in the world [1]. This report coincides with the annual publication of the data of the industry of biotechnologies on GM crops worldwide [2].

* Movement for the rights and the respect of future generations 

For Christian Berdot, in charge of GMOs for Friends of the Earth in France: “GMOs have failed to bring the benefits promised for years by the industry of biotechnologies. Instead, the increase in the use of pesticides caused by GMO crops is threatening the environment and populations worldwide.” …/…

The Friends of the Earth Report “Who benefits from GM crops?” 2008 shows that GMOs have led to a significant increase in the use of pesticides.

Government studies show a 15-fold increase in the use of the RoundUp herbicide (glyphosate) in the United-States and an 80% increase in Brazil [3]. This is linked to an increasing number of glyphosate-resistant weeds worldwide, thus increasing the production costs and environmental impact [4]. The United-States have also increased their use of even more toxic pesticides, one of which is banned in Europe:

Report on MON 863 GM maize produced by MONSANTO Company

Wednesday 26 September 2007


Controversial effects on health reported after subchronic toxicity test : a confidential rat 90 day feeding study

By Pr. Gilles-Eric SERALINI


Preliminary CRIIGEN report on the first public investigation of the crude data in MON 863 Toxicity

Tuesday 25 September 2007

Some tests have been done by biotech companies in order to study the safety/toxicity of GMOs with laboratory animals used as mammalian models, as is now done with drugs and pesticides ; this is to anticipate unintended effects on mammals or humans consuming these GMOs. Unfortunately, these tests were confidential and very short (90 days), unlike how this is done for pesticides (2 years), although MON 863 is designed as a GMO to produce a new pesticide. As confidentiality on the tests has been broken by the German Court, a deeper examination of the crude data can now be made independently, allowing new expertise on the statistical conclusions of Monsanto, which were the object of controversies. At the time of wirting these lines, we do have the data file computerized. This was a prerequisite for a new statistical analysis. This work is now in progress. We are now in the process of for a few months analysing in detail the data, and making a new statistical study. Consequently, the observations which follow do not constitute, in any manner, a statistical analysis of the data from MON 863. On the one hand, they show the importance of carrying out this statistical analysis in a serious and independent way, and on the other hand, demonstrate the necessity of doing again the EU risk assessment of MON 863 before any decision on market authorisation can be taken.

Human Health and the Environment: GMOs, PESTICIDES… In 2005

Monday 28 May 2007
By Joël Spiroux de Vendômois, Doctor of Medecine, President of the Health and Environment Commission of the Regional Union of Physicians of Haute-Normandie (URML), Member of the Scientific Council of CRIIGEN.

During the last General Assembly in  2003, we decided to widen the scope of action and reflection of CRIIGEN to the topic of the environment and health in general, and not only to GMOs. 

The impact of biotechnologies on the environment and as a consequence on human health is eminently transdisciplinary. With such problematics, it becomes necessary to favour points of convergence rather than differences  between various disciplines. This encourages us to adopt “a way of thinking which integrates what is complex or the complexity of the world”. An approach to which we are not accustomed, nor trained for. Etymologically, complex means interwoven. A path towards fundamental ecology could awake the whole scientific world, for this science highlights the notions of cycle, rhythm, interdependence and transformation…

The Scientific Council of CRIIGEN is composed in a very eclectic, multidisciplinary fashion and we have tuned the field of action of CRIIGEN to the composition of its Scientific Council and Board of Directors, as well as to our deepest beliefs. 

We take the definition of health by WHO, as our starting point: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. And we understand the environment in its triple sense: that is to say, a place where you live, work, along with the food you eat. But also from the sensory point of view: the noise and stress levels you encounter. And the cognitive point of view in the psychological sense, i.e., the way we apprehend, the way we are aware of our environment: through the media and through education. How in this framework, can we therefore apprehend and envisage the relations between GMOs, pesticides and health?

Genetically Modified Vaccines, 2005

Friday 25 May 2007

By Michel Georget, Member of the Scientific Council of CRIIGEN 

The recombinant DNA techniques used to create new vegetable or animal genetically modified organisms, are also used to manufacture vaccines based on recombinations carried out on micro-organisms (MGM). As most of microbial antigens (and as a consequence the vaccine antigens) are of a proteic nature, a method was sought to obtain the proteic molecules which are recognized by the immune system, by making them be expressed by microbial organisms that were already known or even better, by making them be expressed in a culture medium by a cellular system, to avoid having recourse to whole microbial organisms, with a view to obtain much purer vaccines. The synthesis of these proteic antigens in a chemical medium is very delicate, as each protein includes hundreds of amino-acids; and because the specific chain branching structure is usually insufficient, the molecule must also acquire a specific spatial structure, which is difficult to obtain. Genetic engineering is therefore quite timely. All you need to do, in theory, is to determine the gene holding the information corresponding to the sought protein, and to make the gene express itself. Two strategies are used: either constructing microbial organisms onto the Chimeric genetic inheritance, or obtaining antigenic proteins.

Chimeric organisms 

Such vaccines are developed for animals, for example against the Newcastle disease for poultry, bovine plague, bovine leukosis and rabies. In the case of rabies, trials have been conducted with recombinant viruses, included in baits scattered from a helicopter. Such trials were conducted by the United-States in… the Argentinean pampa (without the locals knowing), as the Law forbids such trials to be conducted in the United-States. A new anti-rabies vaccine was also developed in France by Transgene in Strasbourg and Institut Mérieux. It is made from the vaccine virus (that is to say, the old smallpox vaccine) in which was induced the coding gene for an envelope protein of the virus of rabies. If this vaccine eliminates the risk of direct contamination by the virus of rabies, it does not exclude, as far as we know, the risk of recombination of the vaccine-virus with wild viruses without anybody being able to predict the result. Some scientists specialized in bioengineering are worried of the risk of being faced in the field with something different from what was disseminated to start with. Alerted by Greens, German public opinion was firmly opposed to such disseminations of GMOs.