By Aldo Norberto Bonaveri
Without a doubt, one of the great themes of the 21st century is that of transgenic foods; The debate around this goes far beyond the scientific fields, spreading to many sectors of society, setting up the discussion in various countries.
Throughout the world, conferences have multiplied, long arguments have been written and rivers of ink are poured into the media for and against.
For the detractors the consequences are pernicious, they attribute pollution and even a propensity to contain carcinogenic substances.
The defenders discredit such accusations, emphasizing the benefits brought to humanity through biotechnology: substantial increase in the production of grains, essential to meet the needs of the world's population; resistance of crops to diseases, pests and drought; the availability of a large number of drugs on the market, essential to treat important diseases, such as insulin, growth hormone or clotting factors.
The vast majority of scientists subscribe to biotechnology, however there are studies that report the harmful consequences caused by genetically modified "GMO" organisms. Anyway, it should be noted that these results have not been endorsed by higher academic institutions. Meanwhile the controversy continues, especially fed back by the stubborn opposition of the most radicalized environmental organizations, and the uncertainty that naturally generate reckless omens. Nothing suggests that the divergent positions will be reconciled in the short term, however preparations are being finalized to begin an unprecedented international mega study.
It is the "GMO Factor", which already has a budget of US $ 25,000,000 assigned, which will investigate the health effects of a transgenic crop (GMO) that has been present in the food and forage supply for years. The slogan is to answer the following question: Are this transgenic food and its associated herbicide (glyphosate) safe for human health?
Although since the appearance of transgenic foods in 1995, multiple tests have been carried out and, even the states where GMOs are cultivated, prior to their authorization have subjected these materials to the strictest controls and have adopted the corresponding precautionary measures. ; It is fair to mention that there has never been a scientific study exhaustive enough to clearly establish whether a certain transgenic food is safe for human health. The known preparations are leading to suppose that Factor GMO will provide meritorious information of a solidity without precursors, in order to enable governments and regulatory entities, to have certainty about consumption and safety conditions.
The study will evaluate a glyphosate-tolerant transgenic corn and corresponding levels of the herbicide for cultivation in a total of more than 6,000 rats. They will be subjected to a diet that includes transgenic food and pesticides; For this purpose, protocols subordinate to rigor and checks will be applied, contemplating current international guidelines for toxicity tests of transgenics, herbicides and other chemical substances.
The work will be carried out in confidential locations in Western Europe and Russia. The exact location of the study centers must be reserved for security reasons, given that Factor GMO's premise is to prevent any external interference that could jeopardize the development of the study and, fundamentally, the appropriate corollary.
It should be noted that Factor GMO began its preparatory phase at the beginning of this year, while the study itself will begin in 2015, calculating that it will take between 2 and 3 years to complete. Noting that provisional results will be transmitted at regular intervals for the duration of the study.
The experiment, which will be segmented into three groups: toxicity, carcinogenicity and multi-generational, will examine the fundamental question of the safety of transgenic foods and pesticides through more rigorous methods than those currently required by regulatory authorities. It will provide sufficient data to determine with confidence whether actual levels of consumption of the transgenic food and its associated pesticide are safe.
A really valuable aspect is that the scientists who participate in Factor GMO are considered neutral, by virtue of not being linked to organizations refractory to transgenics, nor biotechnology companies. Factor that presumes credibility.
It is worth mentioning that the promoter and organizer of Factor GMO is the National Association for Genetic Safety, an NGO based in Moscow.
Corresponding to note that the aforementioned has not interceded or will intervene in the design of the study, in the periodic development of the study or in the accumulated, interpretation or publication of the scientific results.
Such functions have been delegated to the designated Review Committee, made up of three 3 experts in their respective fields of recognized international prestige.