Some QUOTES from scientists about Genetic Engineering

“The perception that everything is totally safe & straightforward is utterly naïve. I don’t think we fully understand the dimensions of what we are getting into.”
-Professor Phillip James, Director of the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen

 “I see worries in the fact that we have the power to manipulate genes in ways that would be improbable or impossible through conventional evolution. We shouldn’t be complacent in thinking that we can predict the results.”
-Colin Blakemore, Waynflete professor of physiology, Oxford, and President, British Association for the Advancement of Science

 “Over the last fifteen years, I and other scientists have put the FDA on notice about the potential dangers of genetically engineered foods. Instead of responsible regulation we have seen bureaucratic bungling and obfuscation that have left public health and the environment at risk.”
-Dr. Phillip Regal, Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour at the University of Minnesota

“The industry has been allowed to get these products onto the market without providing evidence of safety- which they cannot provide.”
-Professor Richard Lacey, Microbiologist, Leeds University
(who warned the UK government that their shoddy feeding practices for cattle would result in serious consequences, pre-BSE/Mad cow/Mad human disease/nv-CJD etc.)

 “As a scientist, I wouldn’t drink milk from cows fed GM maize with the present state of knowledge.”
-Professor Bob Orskov, Director of International Feed Resource Unit, Aberdeen

 “The fact is, it is virtually impossible to even conceive of a testing procedure to assess the health effects of GE foods, nor is there any valid nutritional or public reason for their introduction.”
-Professor of Food Safety & microbiologist, Richard Lacey of Leeds University, UK

 UK Environment Minister Michael Meacher recently admitted to farmers and environmentalists that “buffer zones” around GM crop trials in the UK had been shown to be “woefully inadequate”.

GE Monitoring Slack, MAF says
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry oversees facilities where GE experiments are done.
However, MAF biosecurity authority director, Barry O’Neill said it could not monitor the effects of GE, either in containment, or after commercial release. Nobody was monitoring such effects. Even if MAF had more funds, it lacked the skills to monitor effects of GE, he said. 
(Evening Post, 5 August 2000) 

 “The law mandates a precautionary approach. It does not demand demonstration of danger, it requires proof of safety. It states that if there are reasonable doubts about the safety of bioengineered foods- doubts that have not been conclusively resolved through solid testing- the foods should NOT be brought to market.”
-Richard Stroman, Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology

“Indeed, it can be argued that gene transfer via recombinant DNA techniques resembles the process of viral infection far more closely than it resembles traditional breeding.”          
-Professor Patrick Brown, “The Promise of Plant Biotechnology - the Threat of Genetically Modified Organisms”, College of Agriculture and Environmental Science, University of CA, Davis

 In response to the assertion that genetic engineering is a precise and safe science:
 “This presumption is clearly contradicted by a large volume of scientific literature and experimental experience that illustrates the propensity of rDNA techniques to produce unexpected and often lethal perturbations.”       “Lack of knowledge is not proof of safety.”
- Professor Patrick Brown (same as above)  

His Royal Highness, Prince Charles stated in June of l999:  “We simply do not know the long term consequences for human health and the wider environment (of genetically modified crops) …if something does go badly wrong, we will be faced with the problem of cleaning up a kind of pollution which is self perpetuating.  I am not convinced that anyone has the first idea of how this could be done.”

Professor of Genetics from London University, Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, said “Contrary to what they would like the public to believe, GE crops are neither needed nor beneficial.  They have become a dangerous diversion from the real task of providing sustainable food for our world.  The technologies of genetic engineering are crude, unreliable, uncontrollable and unpredictable- in short, they do not qualify as technologies.”

This view is shared by Professor Terje Traavik (a joint witness with Friends of the Earth and Environmental and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO). Professor Traavik is the Scientific Director of the Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology, and Professor of Virology, of the Department of Microbiology and Virology, School of Medicine, University of Tromson, Norway.
Professor Traavik used to support genetic engineering and recently gave Expert Witness testimony to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Genetic Modification here in NZ.

He told the Commission panel what made him change his mind: 
“Until around l990 I was a dedicated proponent of genetic engineering. Due to observations made during my own research I then started to become concerned about some appliations.  With regard to the development and commercialisation of GMO’s we often are neither able to define probability of unintended events or the consequences of them. Hence, the present state of ignorance makes scientifically based risk assessments impossible.  This calls for invoking the ‘precautionary principle’
(which calls for precaution in the face of scientific uncertainty).”

Professor Traavik told the Royal Commission that the first generation of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) came from “crude and potentially unsafe scientific methods.”  He said that
third generation of GMO’s being produced now were no safer and should not be allowed out of the laboratory.  He likened the release of genetic organisms into the environment with chemical
pollution.  But he said GMO’s were more dangerous because scientists did not know how they would behave. “Health and environmental risks apply to all GMO’s,” he told the Commission.
 “Genetic pollution from GMO’s is a real possibility. This can be exerted by cross-pollination, unplanned breeding and horizontal gene transfer" (reviews: Kidwell, l994; Nielsen et al., l998; Traavik, l999). 

"Such events may result in extensive and unpredictable health, environmental and socio-economic problems.”  “Against the explicit conclusions of experts, the BSE prions crossed the hypothesised ‘species’ barrier and initiated new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (v CJF) in human beings.”  
- Professor Terje Traavik- 2000 GMO risks and hazards:  Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence of risk  www.twnside.org.sg/title/terje-cn.htm

Dr. Michael Antoniou, Senior Lecturer in molecular genetics and researcher at Guy’s Hospital, London, also gave expert Witness Testimony to the Royal Commission. He said “I took the initiative to raise my concerns publicly on GM food because I thought what was being claimed was simply not representative of the truth…if you move genes around in the very imprecise way that gene technology does, you’re simply going to disrupt normal gene function and you’re going to bring about unpredictable outcomes that are far greater than the intended changes.  I felt that what was being put out by the government and industry scientists about the technology was simply inaccurate.” ...and ...
 “GM and agriculture have become so commercially driven that the applications of the technology have become severed from their basic science roots- it’s moving forward at a tremendous pace to produce all these crops for commercial use, but at the same time it doesn’t heed the warnings of our deepening understanding of biology, ecology and genetics.”

Professor Richard Lacey, one of the world’s foremost food safety specialists, warned against the management practices that led to BSE and the subsequent ruination of the British beef industry and the human variant of the disease (CJD). Commenting on the “essentially unlimited health risks “ of GE, Professor Lacey said, “The fact is, it is virtually impossible to even conceive of a testing procedure to assess the health effects of GE foods, nor is there any valid nutritional or public reason for their introduction.”

 He also stated “It is my considered judgement that employing the process of recombinant DNA technology (GE) in producing new plant varieties entails a set of risks to the health of the consumer that are not ordinarily presented by conventional breeding techniques.  It is also my considered judgement that food products derived from such genetically engineered organisms are not generally recognised as safe on the basis of scientific procedures within the community of experts qualified to assess their safety.”

The prestigious Royal Society of Canada recently expressed its concerns in its report on genetic engineering, urging the Canadian regulatory agencies to adopt the controversial “precautionary principle” as a framework for assessing new technologies, including GE crops and foods. Chairman Conrad Brunk stated “When it comes to human and environmental safety, there should be clear evidence of the absence of risks; the mere absence of evidence is not enough.”