The two-year study, led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen in France, and published three weeks ago in the American journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, has caused a storm of controversy overseas.
Now the anti-GM lobby group, supported by 11 other NGOs, has called on Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat Pettersson to ban the cultivation or planting of Round-up Ready maize in SA.
The NGO’s director, Mariam Mayet, said the modified maize line NK603 was grown on nearly one million hectares in SA.
Seralini’s study was the first that tested GM maize on rats over a two-year period – almost a rat’s lifespan. Monsanto’s own study lasted 90 days.
“A maize variety that accounts for 40 percent of our national crop has just been shown to cause tumours and liver and kidney damage in laboratory rats. Over 70 percent of our maize, the staple food of millions, is genetically modified. In no other country do humans consume GMOs in such quantities,” Mayet said.
She said Seralini’s research had found that:
Rats fed GM maize had higher death rates than those that weren’t.
In the female groups there were two to three times more premature deaths in groups fed on GM-maize.
In the 24th month, 50 percent to 80 percent of females that had been fed GM diets developed tumours, compared to 30 percent in the control group;
Liver congestion and premature cell death were 2.5-5.5 times higher in males than in the control groups.
Roundup-Ready maize is resistant to the Roundup herbicide, enabling farmers to kill weeds without killing crops.
When approached for comment, the Agriculture Ministry, did not a reply.
Via, The Mercury