The U.S. government approved GMOs under the premise that they were “substantially equivalent” to Non-GMOs, which means that they are compositionally the same as Non-GMOs, in terms of safety and nutritional profile.
More than anything, however, this substantial equivalence term was a way for Big Seed companies to get their products to market quickly without any long-term safety studies or scientific scrutiny. This was corporate influence and manipulation over the regulatory process at its finest.
While those of us in the organic community scoff at the notion that GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to Non-GMOs, a blockbuster piece of news out of the European Union should change the entire conversation.
A new peer-reviewed study published in Scientific News and conducted at King’s College in London showed that unexpected changes in GM-corn were the result of genetic engineering; changes are referring to those changes beyond what was intended to be altered.
In this study, it showed that a total of 117 proteins and 91 small molecule biochemicals (metabolites) were found to be significantly altered in GM-corn (NK603 corn) by the genetic engineering process. And there were also changes in two potentially toxic compounds in Monsanto’s Roundup resistant corn.
The lead researcher on this study, Dr. Michael Antoniou of King’s College, said that “Our study clearly shows that the GM transformation process results in profound compositional differences in NK603, demonstrating that this GMO maize is not substantially equivalent to its non-GMO counterpart.”
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
Will these new findings pull GMOs off of the shelves in the U.S.? Unfortunately, no.
However, since these findings took place in Europe and expose the shortcomings in the European Food Safety Authority’s risk assessment of GMOs, the best thing that could happen is that the EFSA decides to do a new evaluation of the safety of GMOs based on this new, cutting-edge science.
If the EFSA did this and decided that GMOs were not “substantially equivalent” to their Non-GMO counterparts, that would give us leverage to ask for the same re-evaluation here in the U.S.
Regardless of whether the FDA or EFSA ever performs additional tests, this new report is scientific confirmation of something that we have suspected all along — GMOs are not “substantially equivalent” to Non-GMOs and they carry very real health risks to humans.