Russia suspends import and use of American GM corn (maize) after study reveals cancer risk

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Russian Federation will no longer import Monsanto's genetically engineered corn due to the recent French study which is linking breast cancer and organ damage to a GMO diet.

Russia's consumer-rights watchdog said it has suspended the import and use of a genetically engineered corn made by Monsanto Co. following a study's findings that suggested the crop might cause cancer.

The consumer-rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said the country's Institute of Nutrition has been asked to assess the validity of the study.

Other nations could well follow Russia's decision in what would be a severe blow to companies selling biotech food. Historically, biotech companies have proved the safety of GM crops based on trials involving feeding rats for a period of 90 days. However, experts at the University of Caen conducted an experiment running for the full lives of rats – two years.

The findings, which were peer reviewed by independent experts before being published in a respected scientific journal, regardless of Monsanto's PR agents claiming the opposite, found raised levels of breast cancer, liver and kidney damage.

The same trials also found evidence that consumption of minuscule amounts of a commonly used weedkiller, Roundup, was associated with a raised risk of cancer. Both the GM corn, which carries the name NK603, and Roundup are the creation of US biotech company Monsanto.

Consumer scepticism in the UK and Europe means GM corn is not on supermarket shelves there, however it is fed to farm animals, including hens, pigs and dairy cows, and thus will end up in humans eating such products. It appears to be difficult to even know which feed, for laying hens, for instance, is GMO free and which is not.

The biotech industry and university researchers involved in GM research have mounted a major PR campaign over the last year to win over sceptical consumers.

Pro-GM scientists have been lining up to undermine the French experiments and criticize the way they were conducted. However, a number of independent academics have praised the French team’s work, describing it as the most thorough and extensive feeding trials involving GM to date.

The action of the authorities of the Russian Federation shows that the Russians are in many respects cleverer than we here in the West who allow ourselves to be browbeaten by Monsanto and the governments who are in the corporation's pockets.

© 2012