RutgersModelUnitedNations 7 dangers, and therefore the ban classified as illegal according to EU rules. 25 While the European Commission regarded the ruling as a step towards lifting all bans on genetically modified foods in the European Union, the environmentalist group, Friends of the Earth stated that the ruling would not stop European Union members from banning the crops. Friends of the Earth hoped the European Union would allow its member states to enforce these bans until researches conducted more studies on GM foods. In addition to Austria and Hungary, France, Luxembourg, Germany, and Greece all banned genetically modified crops. 26 Despite efforts by the European Commission and the World Trade Organization, the bans on genetically modified crops in Europe continue despite the European Commission’s approval of the crops in 1998. 27 Research in Genetically Modified Foods On 22 May 2005, a British newspaper published information regarding a confidential report by the Monsanto Company referring to research done on genetically modified corn. 28 The report stated that rats that ate the modified corn developed smaller kidneys and abnormalities in the makeup of their blood. 29 These mutations in the rats were absent in the control rats that fed on conventional corn. 30 The study focused on a new form of genetically modified corn under development by Monsanto, named MON 863. 31 While Monsanto dismissed the claims that the new corn was poisonous stating that the abnormalities were within normal range for rats, other studies supported the claims. Later in 2005, Russian researchers released the results of an experiment testing the effects of GM foods on newborn rats. The female rats in the Russian experiment ate between five and seven grams of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Soybeans every day 25 Ibid. 26 Ibid. 27 Cozier, Murial, “EU backs anti-Gm stance”, ICIS Chemical Business, 26 February 2007, accessed via Lexis Nexis 28 Lean, Geoffrey, “Rats Fed GM Corn Due for Sale in Britain Developed Abnormalities in Blood and Kidneys”, The Independent (UK), 22 May 2005, http://www.mindfully.org/GE/2005/Monsanto-Rat-Study22may05.htm 29 Ibid. 30 Ibid. 31 Lean, Geoffrey
RutgersModelUnitedNations 8 starting two weeks before conception and ending after nursing. 32 At the end of the experiment, researchers found that 55.6 per cent of the rats born from mothers feeding on the Roundup Ready Soybeans died within three weeks of birth, while only 9 per cent of the control rats died. 33 In addition to the high mortality rates, the experimental rats experienced stunted growth. Of the experimental rats, 36 per cent weighed less than twenty grams at three weeks old, while only 6.7 per cent of the control rats weighed in at less than twenty grams at the same age. 34 The Russian scientists acknowledged that at the time of publication that the experiment had yet to be peer reviewed or duplicated, but stated that the drastic findings were grounds for other scientists to repeat the tests to confirm the results. 35 While these findings support the theory that GM foods are dangerous for human consumption, other research supported that modified foods provide health benefits, in addition to environmental benefits. Some genetically modified crops can kill off any fungi that develop on the crop during growth, particularly ones containing mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are naturally occurring metabolites that form on the fungi that occur naturally on crops in damp regions. 36 Scientists and farmers monitored mycotoxins in the past due to their detrimental effects on humans and animals consuming contaminated crops, and classified as carcinogens. Specific types of mycotoxins have different effects on consumers, such as Fumonisn B1 causing leukemia in horses, cancer in rats, and pulmonary oedema syndrome in pigs. Genetically modified corn is resistant to the development of mycotoxins, which insect damage causes to the crops. Therefore, using genetically modified corn is an excellent way for farmers to both prevent pest damage as well as 32 “Study: High mortality rats ate GM food”, United Press International, 1 November 2005, http://www.physorg.com/news7740.html 33 Ibid. 34 Ibid. 35 Ibid. 36 Theunissen, Izelle, “Food For Thought”, http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2002/december/food.htm, accessed 4 April 2007.