Demystifying Genetically Modified Food

piero scaruffi

Send me an email if you think anything here is incorrect. (It took me a long time to put together the data for this page. Please make sure you have reliable sources before you write)

I'm a scientist, used to doublecheck sources. It takes more than a conspiracy theory to impress me.

The vast majority of theories opposed to genetically modified food use three sources, exemplified by the Seralini paper, by Don Huber's talks and by a Gary Null documentary.

1. The Seralini paper got lots of publicity when it came out, but most people didn't follow what happened next: it was retracted by the journal itself. (See, for example, this article). You can read the Wikipedia version of the Seralini scandal here.
2. I didn't watch the whole movie but the beginning looked very unscientific, so i googled the name of the filmmaker: Gary Null. Not exactly a reputable scientist. Among his many conspiracy theories, he has also argued that HIV does not cause AIDS. He used to sell a line of dietary supplements: he and some of his customers almost died of it. His articles have been mainly published in Penthouse. Stephen Barrett, co-founder of the National Council Against Health Fraud, has a lengthy article debunking Null's actions. As for the movie itself, it quotes "scientists" who are dubious experts, to say the least. My favorite line is from a Rima Laibow: "And of course what happens is that, when their genes are changed, our genes are changed by consuming them." Either she was on drugs or she'll win a Nobel Prize for finding out how to perform gene therapy by simply administering food to people. Sorry but this is a bad conspiracy movie.
3. Don Huber claims he has discovered a germ caused by GM food but he has refused to let other scientists see it. Nobody in the scientific community has ever seen this germ or been given any hint on how to find it or any description of what it would be/do. He used to be at Purdue University, and Purdue scientists issued a statement to dissociate themselves from him: ". evidence to support these claims has neither been presented to nor evaluated by the scientific community". Specifically: "The claim that plant disease has skyrocketed due to glyphosate use is unfounded" (The entire paper is here). Huber has never written a scientific paper on this so i cannot read it! You can also read this post by a former Huber supporter: click here.
I am sure that Seralini, Null and Huber will claim that they are the victims of a smearing campaign by Monsanto, and that the whole scientific community and all the reporting media (including me and my biologist friends) is being paid by Monsanto.

There are still millions of people who believe that polio vaccination causes autism and that cell phones cause brain cancer, so i don't expect anybody to change their mind on GM food any time soon, but, if this is all that the anti-GMO crowd has to offer, i'll feel pretty safe continuing to eat GM food.

Wish me good luck.

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