Dealing with new evidence on GMO safety
Wednesday 4th September 2013, Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster, 2pm – 3:30pm
The purpose of the meeting is to look at new information on the safety of GM crops and how well (or not) it is assessed by regulators. The speakers will be: a working pig farmer who has had firsthand experience of possible side effects of GM feed); two scientists who have unearthed new evidence on the safety of GM crops; and an academic specialising in risk assessment and public perception.
Current procedures for reviewing new evidence have been criticised for not being thorough enough or for not building on new evidence with further research. There is an over reliance on industry sponsored post market monitoring and rigid safety testing procedures. And a tendency to ignore or dismiss findings from independent scientists.
Even when new evidence is clear, for example Monarch butterfly numbers declining in the US due to the larval food plant being reduced by herbicide tolerant crops being sprayed with Roundup, there is no apparent action taken to reduce the harm being observed.
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Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini (University of Caen)
Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini is Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Caen and resident of the CRII-GEN Scientific Board (Committee of Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering). He has earned numerous accolades for his expertise on GMO and his activities in favour of an independent and ethical scientific evaluation of the technology.
His ground-breaking 2012 study found that rats fed with Monsanto’s GM NK603 maize and tiny amounts of Roundup pesticide suffered severe organ damage and increased risk of tumours and premature death. This is the most detailed long-term independent study on which the product was trialled to date.
Ib Borup Pedersen (Danish pig farmer)
Ib Pedersen is a Danish farmer who found digestive and reproductive problems in his pigs when they ate GM feed. Ib has taken part in a film showing how these same defects are suffered by humans who live near the fields where Ib’s pig food is grown.
When Ib switched to non-GM feed, he documented longer lifespans, and less defects in his pigs. Ib’s experience shows the real effects from a GM diet, outside of a laboratory, that potentially put people and livestock at risk.
Professor Brian Wynne (Lancaster University)
Brian Wynne is Professor of Science Studies at CSEC and at the ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen).
His education includes MA (Natural Sciences, Cambridge 1968), PhD (Materials Science, Cambridge 1971), MPhil (Sociology of Science, Edinburgh 1977). His work has covered technology and risk assessment, public risk perceptions, and public understanding of science, focusing on the relations between expert and lay knowledge and policy decision-making. He was an Inaugural Member of the Management Board and Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency, (EEA), (1994-2000) and a Special Adviser to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee Inquiry into Science and Society, (March 2000). He is also a member of the London Royal Society’s Committee on Science in Society.
Dr Jonathan Latham (Bioscience Resource Project)
Jonathan R Latham, PhD is co-founder and Executive Director of the Bioscience Resource Project; Dr. Latham holds a Masters degree in Crop Genetics and a PhD in Virology. He was subsequently a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Prior to heading the Bioscience Resource Project he published scientific papers in disciplines as diverse as plant ecology, plant virology, molecular biology, and genetics. He regularly presents at scientific conferences on papers published by the Bioscience Resource Project. He is also a fellow of the 21st Century Trust.
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