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For the record

Response to stories that "meat is tainted by GM" Image

Response to stories that "meat is tainted by GM"

Articles on Wednesday 24th February in the Daily Mail and The Sun reported that “Most meat is tainted by GM” and claimed that DNA fragments derived from GM plant materials in feed, occasionally detected in animal tissues, present a health risk.

Professor Ottoline Leyser, Professor of Plant Development and Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge:

“We all eat millions of genes every day. There is no difference between the composition of DNA in genes introduced by GM and those present due to conventional breeding. All new crop varieties and new agricultural methods carry potential risks. They all need to be assessed. In fact, risks associated with GM crops are assessed in much greater depth than those associated with non-GM crops.

It is entirely appropriate to be concerned about the safety and sustainability of our food supply chain. It is great to see national newspapers taking an interest in this important issue. However, it is unfortunate that some of them continue to confuse the issues with a GM vs non-GM division. By arguing that it’s all about GM, the real problems go unchallenged and undebated.”

Matt Audley, PhD student, Rothamsted Research:

“Despite quoting the Food Standards Agency and the World Health Organization positions on the safety of authorised GM crops and meat from animals fed it, the article insinuates that the presence of plant DNA in meat is somehow a risk to health. This sort of unsubstantiated, vague hinting at danger perpetuates the myth that there is something to be feared and allows statements like “potential risks to human health” to be used without question.”

Professor Jonathan Jones, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich:

“GM crops have been grown across the world for the last 22 years. They have been consumed by humans and livestock. Throughout this time, all learned societies have found there is no credible evidence of risk to human health from consumption of these crops.”  


Declared Interests:

Professor Ottoline Leyser

Matt Audley

Professor Jonathan Jones 

Document type: For The Record

Published: 29 February 2016

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