Originally published September 30 2012
Russia completely suspends use of Monsanto's GM corn
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) What does Russia know about genetically modified corn that we don't? Well, maybe not much, but the difference is Moscow is at least prepared to act on the information it has.
According to recent reports, the Russian consumer-rights watchdog agency, Rospotrebnadzor, said recently it made the decision to suspend importation and use of genetically engineered corn made by Monsanto Co., after release of a study alleging that the crop causes cancer.
Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement that Russia's Institute of Nutrition has been asked to gauge the validity of the study's results, while the European Commission's Directorate General for Health & Consumers has also been contacted, in order to lay out the European Union's position on the issue.
The study was conducted by the University of Caen in France and published earlier this month. Researchers alleged that rats that were fed over a two-year period with the U.S. crop-biotech company's GMO corn, called NK603 and marketed under the brand name "Roundup Ready," "developed more tumors and other severe diseases than a test group fed with regular corn," Fox Business reported.
French government to decide whether it will also ban GMO corn importation
The study also proffered that rats fed with the modified corn and then exposed to the St. Louis-based Monsanto's Roundup weed killer tended to suffer more pathologies that did the test group.
The corn variety is genetically engineered to stave off glyphosate, a weed killer that Monsanto offers under the Roundup brand, the report said.
As expected, a number of scientists and nutritionists discounted the study, greeting it with skepticism. For example, the Science Media Centre, a London-based independent organization that gathers reactions to published research, posted a number of comments by several experts that were critical of the research. Most said the sample size was too small while the data was incomplete, among other concerns.
The study prompted the French government to order its food-safety agency to quickly review its results. Officials said they planned to seek an immediate ban on EU imports of the crop if the findings of the study were deemed to be legitimate and conclusive.
Again, as expected, Monsanto repeated earlier claims that nothing in the French study warranted any sort of ban of the company's biotech-engineered seed.
In particular, the company bashed the study in a statement released shortly after the research published its findings, saying they did "not meet minimum acceptable standards for this type of scientific research," adding that "the findings are not supported by the data presented, and the conclusions are not relevant for the purpose of safety assessment."
Call for GMO labeling in the U.S. by congressman
Fox Business went on to report that an unnamed spokesman from Monsanto downplayed the effect of the Russian ban, pointing out that Moscow imports little American-grown corn anyway.
"Russia is a net exporter of grain, so the actual impact of their temporary suspension, if any, is likely to be small," the spokesman said.
Further, the company said any impact on its sales of corn seed to farmers will also be similarly limited, most likely because the Russian government doesn't allow farmers to plant transgenic crops.
The Health Ranger, Mike Adams, wrote this week that U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, has called for a national GMO labeling law here in the U.S.
"The FDA has received over a million comments from citizens demanding labeling of GMOs. Ninety percent of Americans agree," Kucinich has said. "So, why no labeling? I'll give you one reason: The influence and the corruption of the political process by Monsanto. Monsanto has been a prime mover in GMO technology, a multi-million dollar GMO lobby here and a major political contributor."
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