Expert response from Professor Drew Kershen
Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law (Emeritus), University of Oklahoma, College of Law
Wednesday, 18/09/2013 15:38
Although I am a lawyer, I pay close attention to claims about GMOs that may give rise to liability for a farmer, a seed company, a biotechnology company, or anyone else. Thus, if anyone anywhere had either claimed or proven a harm or illness from living near GMO fields, I feel confident that I would have heard about this claim through reports of regulatory enforcement or civil liability for damages.
The answer to the question is straightforwardly and unequivocally, “No.” There are no such documented claims anywhere in the world.
Yes, some activist organizations have published and proclaimed loudly that animals have become ill from eating GM stover or stalks in the fields or from eating GM feeds. But follow-up investigations have shown these claims to be inaccurate and, at times, completely bogus.
Yes, some activist organizations have raised claims that eating GM foods will make people homosexual or will cause health issues such as sterility or even contribute to diseases like cancer. But these claims are completely bogus and completely shameful in the fear and manipulation that these organizations have attempted to arouse among vulnerable populations, primarily subsistence farmers and their families in developing countries.
From my knowledge, the strongest attempt to claim and prove a human health harm against a GMO occurred during the StarLink® episode of year 2000. Twenty-eight people claimed allergic reactions to eating a product that contained the biotech trait. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated these claims carefully and concluded:
“... The ELISA method found that none of the CDC-submitted samples reacted in a manner consistent with an allergic response to the Cry9c [StarLink] protein. These findings do not provide any evidence that the reactions that the affected people experienced were associated with hypersensitivity to the Cry9c protein.” Investigation of Human Health Effects Associated with Potential Exposure to Genetically Modified Corn, A Report to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (June 11, 2001) (Quote from Executive Summary)
There has not been one – not one – documented or verified claim of a human health or animal health harm from eating a GM food or GM feed. In light of that undeniable fact, it is even more understandable why there has been no documented or verified claim of a human harm or illness for living near GMO fields.
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