New health evidence sparks call for ban on GE corn and better food labelling
November 12, 2009
Sydney, Australia — A type of genetically engineered (GE) corn approved for human consumption in Australia has now been linked to increased risk of developing chronic kidney and heart disease. High Lysine corn LY038 was also withdrawn from commercial development in Europe because of safety concerns.
Greenpeace calls on our food regulator - Food Standards Australia and New Zealand to immediately review its approval of Monsanto's LY038 GE corn for human consumption, in light of this new evidence of health risks, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
"The Food Labelling Review being chaired by Dr Neal Blewitt must take note of this case as an example of why we need to improve the labelling of genetically engineered ingredients," said Greenpeace GE campaigner Laura Kelly. "It's also time for an end to the rubber stamp approach FSANZ takes with applications for genetically engineered food products. For a start FSANZ should immediately review it's approval of LY038 and properly consider the health risks."
"This case indicates a serious regulatory failure by the Federal Government," continued Ms Kelly. "Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mark Butler must be held accountable for any health impacts Australians suffer from eating genetically engineered food. This latest research shows these health impacts could be serious."
Lysine and its breakdown products can react with sugars to form what are called "advanced glycoxidation end products" (AGEs). The research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reaffirms that "advanced glycation endproducts", or AGEs, "are pathogenic...suggesting that dietary AGEs are directly linked to increased [oxidative stress] and the risk of developing CKD [chronic kidney disease] and CVD [cardiovascular disease]." (1)
Dr Jack Heinemann of New Zealand's Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety (INBI) had warned FSANZ of the health risks associated with this type of high lycine corn, and says there is no excuse for its continued approval for human consumption.
"FSANZ knows that there are strong links between dietary AGEs and certain human diseases but it hasn't even asked for a list of novel compounds that may appear in this corn much less attempted to evaluate their safety through scientific tests," said Dr Heinemann.
When the European Food Safety Authority asked the developer, Monsanto/Renessen, to supply additional scientific information that this corn will be safe for humans to eat. Monsanto pulled the development of GE high lysine corn.
(1) Helen Vlassara, et al. Protection against Loss of Innate Defenses in Adulthood by Low Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE) Intake: Role of the Antiinflammatory AGE Receptor-1 J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab., Nov 2009; 94: 4483 - 4491