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Andrew Bartholomaeus

B.Pharm, PhD, Cert Ag (III)

Expert Bio

Over the past 30 years Prof. Bartholomaeus has worked as a toxicologist across a broad range of chemical regulatory areas including agricultural, veterinary and industrial chemicals, complementary medicines, and gene technology products. Prior to June 2008 he held the position of Chief Toxicologist with the Prescription Medicines area of the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia with responsibilities in the area of preclinical assessment and in leading the TGAs response to the Australian National Nanotechnology Strategy. Prof Bartholomaeus subsequently took up the position of General Manager of the Risk Assessment Branch at Food Standards Australia New Zealand. 

Prof Bartholomaeus retired from FSANZ in 2012 to pursue academic interests. He currently holds extramural appointments with the University of Queensland Medical School as an Adjunct Professor, the University of Canberra as an Adjunct Professor of Toxicology and Pharmacy, is a member of the health faculty advisory board at RMIT, is a member of the international editorial board for the Journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, and was a member of the ILSI IFBiC Steering Group. In June 2009 Dr Bartholomaeus chaired the FAO/WHO Expert consultation on the Application of Nanotechnologies in the Food and Agriculture Sectors: Potential Food Safety Implications

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Q: The following article is the best argument against GMOs Ive seen so far. This article claims that GM crops are not tested for immune risks the way these peas were. Can you comment on the process that is used to evaluate the safety of GM crops?

Answered By Andrew Bartholomaeus - Sep 30, 2014

A: The study referred to is that of Prescott et al. (2005), “Characterization of the structure and immunogenicity of bean α-amylase inhibitor (α AI) when expressed in peas,” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 53: 9023–9030. The study authors concluded from their work that the expression of a bean α-amylase in peas can lead to the synthesis of a modified form of the protein with altered antigenic properties, and that exposure of the GI tract in mice to the modified α-amylase, along with heterogeneous food antigens, cross-primes and elicits immunogenicity. The authors have no k [...]


Q: why do we use rats to test gmos

By Community Manager - Oct 30, 2015

A: Current approaches in the safety assessment of genetically modified (GM) crops include animal feeding studies with processed grain or other plant parts.  A 90-day rat feeding study is one of the animal feeding/toxicity studies required by some regulatory authorities to assess safety of GM crops. Rodents are available in large quantities from commercial suppliers of animals for research purposes.  Aside from this and other practical considerations such as the ability to house and care for rodents, the metabolic and physiologic processes in a rat and human are sufficiently similar to a [...]

Answered By Andrew Bartholomaeus - Oct 23, 2015

A: The genes and therefore the physiology and biochemistry of a rat, and other experimental animals, are actually very similar to humans.  Humans even have a gene for a tail but it is switched off in humans. This does not mean however that effects seen in rats are automatically relevant for humans.  Very often a careful consideration of the physiology of the rat and that of humans is necessary to determine which effects seen in rats are relevant to humans.  Equally, in order for a rat study to be scientifically credible it needs to be carefully designed, conducted and interpreted. [...]



Q: I have recently been seeing Face Book comments on female hamsters loosing their fertility on the 3rd. generation. Is this a proven fact or just Organic producers way of promoting their products?

Answered By Andrew Bartholomaeus - Dec 01, 2015

A: There are many "studies" from groups opposed to GMOs that purport to show all sorts of implausible effects of GMOs. The best response is to look at the data from the commercial production of livestock in the USA.  Every year farmers in the USA produce 9 billion animals for human consumption, the vast majority, more than 95 percent, of which are fed GMO corn and soy for their entire lives including during breeding. After more than 20 years of GMO feed, many more than three generations have been fed GMOs with no apparent adverse effects across many species of animals including pigs, sh [...]

Health & Safety


Q: How can GMOs be safe if they arent natural?

Answered By Andrew Bartholomaeus - Apr 27, 2018

A: Very little of our modern day food is "natural" in any meaningful sense. The few exceptions might include wild caught seafood, water, salt, macadamia nuts and a few spices and herbs which are still obtainable from the wild. All of our vegetables are "unnatural" in that they do not occur in the wild in the form in which we eat them and are extensively genetically modified from the naturally occurring wild ancestors of those plants. The human mediated transformation of food plants in particular has been quite dramatic over the past thousand years or so. Initially plants affected by th [...]

GMO Basics


Q: I was reading The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers. She referenced a study done on rats that were given GMOS and a large percentage of the rats died compared to those without GMOS. Is this an accurate study?

Answered By Andrew Bartholomaeus - Jan 25, 2019

A: The published literature contains many badly conducted or outright disingenuous studies that are generated to support preconceived objectives or philosophies. Equally many books on GMOs cite unpublished "studies" that cannot be verified or reviewed.  You do not give the actual reference so I cannot specifically comment on the study cited, but as an editor of a major toxicology journal and a previous general manager of the risk assessment Branch of a major food authority I can say categorically that I have not seen a single credible study from any source that demonstrates evidence of adver [...]

Human health - nutrition