Steve Savage Addresses Samsel and Seneff study, “Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance”

By GMOAnswers Admin • March 14, 2014

In a recent literature survey published by Samsel and Seneff, an argument is made for a possible link between the incidence of celiac disease in the United States and the use of the herbicide glyphosate. A key element of the authors’ argument is based on a single example of a study with fish (Senapati et al., 2009). In that study, adverse effects were observed in fish that were exposed to water containing a glyphosate-based herbicide. Samsel and Seneff concluded that the effects observed in the fish were "highly reminiscent of celiac disease." The Senapati fish paper is itself deeply flawed, but it is also irrelevant.

Senapati et al. exposed fish in tanks to a glyphosate rate of 4mg/L, added as a commercial formulation manufactured in India, called Excel Mera-71. That is a formulation made for terrestrial, not aquatic, use, and it is described as containing glyphosate and "a blend of non-ionic and cationic surfactants." At least in the United States, products registered for use on emerged weeds growing in water do not contain surfactants, because they are known to injure fish. The 4mg/L concentration used in the Senapati study was also more than twice as high as the highest rate allowed for a legitimate aquatic formulation, AquaMaster, in the United States. In addition, the water in which the fish were kept was replaced every other day for 45 days with a fresh supply of the surfactant-containing herbicide—not something relevant to any real-world situation. There was no surfactant control in this study, even though surfactants are well known for being able to cause injury to the gills and digestive tracks of fish. The Senapati study simply redocumented the fact that long-term, high-rate exposure of fish to surfactants is damaging, while glyphosate and its primary metabolite, AMPA, are classified as "practically non-toxic" to fish by the EPA.

There is no pattern of potential glyphosate exposure for humans in the United States that is even remotely like that in this poorly designed fish study. The formulation surfactants would not be present in human foods, the rates of glyphosate would be orders of magnitude lower and they would be in the form of the metabolite AMPA. 

The Senapati study simply provides no meaningful data that Samsel and Seneff can use to connect glyphosate and celiac incidence.

Posted on December 7, 2017
The term “GMO” typically refers to crops or animals that, through genetic engineering, have had a gene (or a few genes) from a different species inserted into their genome. This is by design to improve a crop or animal with genetic engineering. In fact, me and my colleagues recently published a paper on this very topic that addresses this very topic and gives more details on the plant selection practices used for GE crops.   However, you pick up on something very... Read More
Answer:
Posted on December 7, 2017
Nearly all foods today have been genetically modified or altered in some way over thousands of years through selective breeding. However, there are only 10 commercially available GMO crops in the U.S: soybeans, corn (field and sweet), canola, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets, summer squash, papaya, potatoes and apples.   Below is a table outlining what year the nine crops became commercially available:   Squash 1995 Cotton 1996... Read More
Posted on November 17, 2017
When people refer to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), they are referring to precision plant breeding using genetic engineering. It allows plant breeders to take a desirable trait (like resistance to drought, insects, weeds, and disease) from one plant or organism and transfer it to the plant they want to improve, as well as make a change to an existing trait in a plant they are developing. You may have also heard of agricultural biotechnology or biotech seeds.... Read More
Answer:
STUDY: There Is “Little Doubt” About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops
STUDY: The contribution of glyphosate to agriculture and potential impact of restrictions on use at the global level