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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

FSA Public Information on GM DNA in Food Out of Step with Science

Immediate release (31 Jul 2012)

Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341 065

Today GM Freeze told the Food Standards Agency it must revise its public information on the presence of GM DNA in animals fed GM feed because it is out of touch with the latest scientific evidence.

Feeding studies reported earlier this year by the international GMSAFood project found genes from GM Bt maize present in the blood of animals fed on the crop, as well as in the flesh of salmon fed on GM feed. [1] The project also found GM proteins and, critically, antibodies to those proteins, in the blood of rats fed Bt maize, indicating an immune response to the GM proteins.

This means current safety assessments of foods from animals fed a GM diet are not sufficiently rigorous to ensure safety – long-term feeding studies are not required for meat, milk or eggs from GM-fed animals.

The statement currently on the FSA website, dated after these findings were presented, says, “[F]ragments derived from GM plant materials may occasionally be detected in animal tissues.” [2] This is inaccurate and does not reflect the scientific findings of whole genes, proteins or antibodies in the blood and flesh of animals fed GM.

In a letter to FSA Chair Lord Rooker GM Freeze said the FSA’s public statement should be revised to reflect current scientific knowledge. GM Freeze also told the FSA that finding antibodies to GM proteins in the blood of animals fed GM indicates that food safety assessments must now include long-term studies looking at the health impacts of low-level exposure to GM from consuming the crops directly or from eating foods like meat, dairy products and eggs from animals fed GM feed. [3]

Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:

The FSA must keep its public information up-to-date and accurate or people will lose confidence in it. The latest research found whole genes and proteins in the blood and flesh of animals fed GM, so the FSA can’t go on telling the public ‘it is possible DNA fragments may occasionally be detected’. This is not the first time we have had to point out to the FSA its public information on GM is inaccurate.

The worrying discovery of GM proteins and antibodies to those proteins, indicating an immune system response, means food safety testing must start looking at the long-term health implications of eating GM and eating animals that are fed GM. The current system simply doesn’t look for such problems, so it’s not surprising it doesn’t find them.

The FSA is supposed to be the public watchdog for food safety. It needs to be honest about the scientific uncertainties surrounding GM food and feed. If GM genes and proteins are getting into people’s blood streams, we have a right to know.



1. GMSAFood Conference, Medical University of Vienna, 6-8 March 2012. “Genetically Modified Organisms GMO Safety and Post Market Monitoring.” Professor Ashild Krogdahl of the Norwegian Veterinary School presents the research findings at a press conference via YouTube.

2. FSA, 11 April 2012. “GM Material in Animal Feed” (accessed 31 July 2012)

3. GM Freeze, 31 July 2012. “Food Standards Agency (FSA) position and public information on the presence of GM DNA material in animal products”. (letter)