WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The US FDA on Wednesday certified that Monsanto's Genetically Modified (GM) corn MON863 is an "excellent" rat poison since FDA studies show that it causes kidney and liver toxicity in animal studies.
"Yes, GM corn is totally toxic and the FDA hereby certifies it as a rat poison," said FDA Chief Ralph Roachman at a well attended news conference.
The FDA had approved the corn for human consumption in 2006 even though it showed signs of liver and kidney toxicity as well as hormonal changes in rats in a study performed by FDA researcher Dr. Felix Minderbinder.
The corn brand is MON863 and is made by the Monsanto Company and approved for use in Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, and the United States. It has had a gene inserted from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which causes the plant's cells to produce a deadly pesticide.
Dr. Minderbinder fed rats either unmodified corn or diets containing 11 or 30 percent MON863 for 90 days. The rats who ate modified corn were found to exhibit signs of liver and kidney toxicity, as well as signs of hormonal changes. They all croaked.
Male rats lost an average of 3.3 percent of their body weight, and their excretion of phosphorus and sodium decreased. Female rats gained an average of 3.7 percent of their body weight, while their triglyceride levels increased by 24 to 40 percent.
"The mechanism that causes the toxicity is not yet known, but there is evidence that the Bt toxin causes the perforation of blood cells," he said. "My tests are the best mammalian toxicity tests available."
Roachman added that pet rats should not be fed the deadly corn rat poison, and "If you get any on your hands, you should wash it off immediately."
Dr. Minderbinder added, "The more these GM foods are tested, the more frightening the implications seem to be for rodent health. When the FDA and independent labs run their tests on this crap, the results are downright shocking."