GM animal feed study results out next year

30 Dec, 2009 07:56 AM
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THE results of a controversial animal feeding study on genetically modified crops are expected to be made public by the middle of next year.

The $92,000 study was commissioned by the previous State Government in 2005 and funded in 2007.

However, the change of State Government last year left several unanswered questions for new Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman to explore in regards to the study's progress.

In particular, Mr Redman is concerned about the difference in communication afforded to his office on the study, compared to that of his Labor predecessor Kim Chance.

Agricultural Region MLC Brian Ellis raised questions in Parliament last month about the study's tendering protocol and taxpayer accountability.

Edstar Genetics principal Ian Edwards, a member of Mr Chance's GMO Reference Group, also weighed into the debate calling for a Parliamentary inquiry into the feeding trial's whereabouts.

In contrast, Shadow Labor Agriculture Minister Mick Murray has declined to comment on the issue.

However, the study's proponent, Judy Carman of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research (IHER) in Adelaide, cleared the air last week, sending a letter to the Agriculture and Food Department.

Dr Carman said a feeding study had been undertaken and data was being analysed and written up.

Dr Carman also briefed Farm Weekly, saying the WA Government had nothing to worry about.

"The Board of IHER has now met and wishes to inform you of the following," the letter said.

"A long-term feeding study has been undertaken.

"The entire grant of money has been committed for expenditure.

"Data from the feeding study is being analysed for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

"The precise date of publication is not under our control but we expect that results will be published in the first half of 2010.

"The WA Government has previously been provided with a copy of the research methodology and as agreed, the methodology will be made public with the results when the results are published.

"As we said in our previous correspondence dated October 26, 2009, we will be pleased to fully brief the Minister on the outcomes and implications of the research once the results have been analysed and published."

Dr Carman said the study would most likely be published towards the end of the estimated period.

She said proper research took time and could not be hurried to fit a political schedule.

"Where and how we have spent the money will be apparent when the materials and methods section is written and then published in the peer-reviewed paper for everyone to see," she said.

Dr Carman said the WA Government was not the only "funder" of the research work.

The study has also received funding from companies and donations from "mums and dads", to help meet the extra costs from doing research in the US, she said.

Dr Carman said the main delay to the research came from the difficulty with getting hold of GM material to test.

"GM companies usually forbid independent research on GM seeds purchased from them and prohibit farmers from giving GM seeds to researchers, which delayed our research for years," she said.

Read the full story in this week's Farm Weekly.

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READER COMMENTS

Hebe
31/12/2009 9:47:03 AM, on Farm Weekly

Isn't it interesting how a study like this, which the majority of people would want to see done, has received such groundless, vicious attacks from GM proponents. What are they afraid of...the truth? Meanwhile WA's GM canola trials, which hardly anyone wants, has had an unknown amount of money thrown at it, and where is the data on that? I'd be very interested to see how much they have cost taxpayers, where the money has gone and what they have achieved. Meanwhile good on Dr Carman for standing her ground and following the strict research protocols.
Madeleine Love
31/12/2009 1:39:30 PM, on Farm Weekly

I wonder what the results will show? The degree of manipulation and failure to report on deaths and removals in Monsanto animal production studies, as well as the earlier manipulated rat study suggests there was a lot for Monsanto to hide, and that the results won't be advantageous for GM RR canola.
David
5/01/2010 12:32:17 PM, on Farm Weekly

Yes Hebe - it is groundless and vicious to question how $100k of public funding was spent nearly 5 yrs after the grant. How incredibly rude of those people to ask for some accountability. Madeleine - we all know what Dr Carman's research will say. She has published many claims about the toxicity of GM food for the past decade. Given the Greenpeace funding of this study I doubt we'll see a different result this time! How do you both feel about climate change? Is it happening? I'm guessing you'll say yes - the UN says so. I agree with that view. Why then doesn't it carry any weight with you that the UN, the WHO, and the Australian Academy of Sciences don't see anything especially dangerous about GM or GE crops (call them what you want)? You can't only push the science that agrees with you! And without meaning to offend anyone, it is also true that certain institutions have more weight in the scientific debate. The World Health Organization's view carries a lot more credence than the Institute of Health and Environmental Research or whatever it's calling itself these days... but now I'm just being vicious and nasty... or engaging in scientific debate - again, call it what you want.

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