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TWN Biotechnology & Biosafety Series no. 14

Potential Health Effects of Foods Derived from Genetically Modified Plants: What Are the Issues?

By Arpad Pusztai and Susan Bardocz

Publisher: TWN (ISBN: 978-967-5412-42-4)

Year: 2011   No. of pages: 48

ABOUT THE BOOK

This paper examines the potential health effects of foods derived from genetically modified (GM) plants. While such an important topic, the data-base on the likely biological effects of GM foods is woefully inadequate.

In the absence of safety studies, the lack of evidence that GM food is unsafe cannot be interpreted as proof that it is safe, particularly as all well-designed GM safety studies published to date and carried out independently of the biotechnology industry have demonstrated potentially worrisome biological effects of GM foods.

However, the complexity of GM foods makes their biological testing difficult. The authors propose a suggested protocol for GM crop/food health risk assessment, which uses comprehensive toxicological/nutritional methods that will equally be applicable to scientifically examine the veracity of the claimed benefits of genetic manipulation, and screen for its unintended and potentially harmful consequences for human/animal health.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

DR ARPAD PUSZTAI is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) and holds a BSc in Chemistry and a PhD in Physiology and Biochemistry. Pusztai was formerly Head of Protein Chemistry at the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland. His main research interest is biologically active food components – lectins, plant anti-nutrients, and the effect of GMOs on animal and human health. His research also focuses on cancer prevention by dietary means. He has published over 300 primary scientific papers and nine scientific books. He is holder of the Stilmark Medal; Honorary Professor of the University of Tartu, Estonia; Leverhulm Fellow; Auber Bequest Fellow; and Recipient of the Federation of German Scientists’ Whistleblower Award 2005.

PROF. SUSAN BARDOCZ has a BSc in Chemistry and a PhD in Biochemistry and Pharmacology. She was a lecturer and then senior lecturer in Biochemistry at the University of Debrecen, Hungary, up to 1987. Between 1987 and 2000 she was at Rowett Research Institute, where she was the Head of the Food - Gut - Microbial Interaction Group between 1992 and 1998. She is currently Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Debrecen, Hungary. She has published over 200 papers and book chapters, as well as written and edited several books.

Both received the Pro Biocultura Prize in 2008 in Hungary, and the Stuttgart Peace Prize in 2009.

Contents

1.      INTRODUCTION

      1.1 Present state of GM food science

2.      ALIMENTARY TRACT AS THE FIRST TARGET OF GM FOOD RISK ASSESSMENT     

3.   SUGGESTED PROTOCOL FOR GM CROP/FOOD HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT

      3.1 Chemical composition

      3.2  Nutritional/toxicological testing with animals

      3.3  Diet

      3.4  Experimental protocol

4.      DIFFERENCES IN NUTRITIONAL PERFORMANCE USEFUL FOR DIAGNOSIS

      OF  HARM

5.      PROBLEMS AND PERSPECTIVES

5.1   Effects of transgenic plant DNA

6.   GM DNA SAFETY STUDIES IN THE GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT

7.   FINAL GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS

ANNEX

REFERENCES

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