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Genetically Modified Maize: Doctors' Chamber Warns of "Unpredictable Results" to Humans

VIENNA, November 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Demand for long-term studies - No release of transgenic species in nature

The Viennese Doctors' Chamber warns of the possible dangers resulting from genetically modified organisms. The impact on beneficial organisms and livestock and therefore on humans is still not really predictable, emphasizes Piero Lercher, the consultant on environmental medicine in the Viennese Doctors' Chamber. This was prompted by the planned release of a transgenic maize variety which, amongst other things, produces an insecticide.****  

In agriculture, genetic engineering, as opposed to traditional cultivation, goes beyond natural species boundaries by introducing specific genes from other organisms into a particular genome.

If such genetically manipulated organisms are released into nature they can hardly be controlled and are also irretrievable. "They represent a substantial risk to the biological balance of nature", Lercher warns.    

The effects on human health are also undefined. There are hardly any study results and certainly no long-term data, therefore for Lercher "the principle of precaution should be applied".

The current legal uncertainties should not be cause for imprudent decisions. Lercher: "Hardly anybody knows that the EU Commission can be committed to grant permission if there is no qualified majority for or against in the council." The right for health and sustainable integrity must be higher in terms of responsibility towards future generations.  

Also the fact that, as in the current case, the decision to authorize the genetically manipulated maize species "Maize 1507" from the seed company Pioneer Hi-Bred International, was passed on to the Council of Ministers by the EU Commission shows that indecisiveness prevails as possible effects on environment and health cannot be predicted to date.

The Viennese Doctors' Chamber therefore demands:

  1. Long-term analyses (over a period of at least 30 years) must be made in regard to nutritive, anti-nutritive, toxic and allergenic contents to establish unintended changes caused by the genetic modification.
  2. Research work on genetically manipulated organisms in both plant breeding and for the development of innovative agents must be performed in hermetically sealed research centres. The release of transgenic species in nature must still be strictly opposed as the results can neither be estimated nor reversed.  
  3. The necessity to register new transgenic species (e.g. a new type of maize) must be economically and scientifically corroborated and requires a wide acceptance by the majority of consumers.
  4. The prohibition of the release of transgenic species that has been valid until now should be maintained by the people and institutions involved in the registration and decision process.  
  5. It must be clearly defined who is liable for possible damages and direct and indirect consequences to health by genetically manipulated organisms which have been released.

Further enquiry:
  Viennese Doctors' Chamber - press
  Dr. Hans-Peter Petutschnig
  Tel.:+43-1-51501-1223, +43664-1014222

SOURCE Viennese Doctors' Chamber

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