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In Our Blood

For all the empty promises the bioseed corporations have made to try and convince consumers that GMO food is safe, a study from University of Sherbrooke, in Quebec, Canada is perhaps the most telling.

Genetically modified crops include genes extracted from bacteria to make them resistant to pest attacks. The toxin is derived from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Corporate scientists who engineer these bioseeds claim there is no danger to the environment or to human health maintaining that the Bt toxin poses no danger to human health as the protein breaks down in the human gut. But the presence of this toxin in human blood clearly demonstrates that this does not happen.

The study covered 30 pregnant women and 39 women who had come for tubectomy at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) in Quebec. The scientists from University of Sherbrooke detected the insecticidal protein, Cry1Ab circulating in the blood of pregnant and non-pregnant women. Alarmingly, they also detected the toxin in fetal blood, implying it could pass on to the next generation.

None of these women had worked or lived with a spouse working in contact with pesticides. The women were all consuming typical Canadian diet that included GM foods such as soybeans, corn and potatoes. Blood samples were taken before delivery for pregnant women and at tubal ligation for non-pregnant women. Umbilical cord blood sampling was done after birth.

Cry1Ab toxin was detected in 93 per cent and 80 per cent of maternal and fetal blood samples, respectively and in 69 per cent of tested blood samples from non-pregnant women. Earlier studies had found trace amounts of the Cry1Ab toxin in gastrointestinal contents of livestock fed on GM corn. This gave rise to fears that the toxins may not be effectively eliminated in humans and there may be a high risk of exposure through consumption of contaminated meat.

The research paper has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in the journal Reproductive Toxicology.