Scientists and scientist organizations rejecting the principle of Substantial Equivalence

All GE foods on the market in the world have been approved on the basis of the principle of Substantial Equivalence. PSRAST has been critisizing this approval procedure since several years, claiming that it is useless and unscientific, see "Inadequate safety assessment of GE foods". Recently important bodies of scientists have joined us in rejecting it:

  • 1998. Institute of Science in Society
  • "The Principle of Substantial equivalence is Unscientific and Arbitary".

    "This principle is unscientific and arbitrary, encapsulating a dangerously permissive attitude toward producers, and at the same time it offers less than minimalist protection for consumers and biodiversity, because it is designed to be as flexible, malleable, and open to interpretation as possible."
  • May 2000 - 160 scientists and physicians dissmiss the principle

    In an open letter to governments they reject the principle and demand the withdrawal of all genetically engineered (GE) foods from the market unless they have undergone rigorous safety assessment. In practice this means that all foods on the market should be withdrawn. See Open letter to governments

  • May 2000 - The US National Academy of Sciences indirectly rejects the principle

    The National Academy of Sciences warned about the possibility of unexpected substances in GE foods: "The mechanism for creating unexpected proteins or unexpected toxins or allergens would be pleiotropy"..."this may lead to unintended compositional changes", see "Genetically Modified Pest Protected Plants" from NAS Committee on Genetically Modified Pest-Protected Plants. Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources. National Research Council. In practice this is a clear rejection of the principle as it is based on the wrong assumption that no unexpected substances may appear due to GE. The council left it to FDA to take the consequences of their judgement.

  • June 2000 - The UK Medical Research Council (MRC) rejects the principle

    MRC rejects the principle as it does not consider unexpected effects of genetic engineering, ses Research into the Potential Health Effects of Genetically Modified (GM) Foods.

  • February 2001 - The Royal Society of Canada rejects the principle

    Quote: "...this approach [of 'substantial equivalence'] is fatally flawed for genetically modified, or GM, crops and exposes Canadians to several potential health risks, including toxicity and allergic reactions". See "Basic principle for GE food safety evaluation fatally flawed says Royal Society".

    The Royal Societies in Commonwealth countries are the counterparts of National Academies, whose members are the leading scientists of the nations.

  • FDA scientists indirectly rejected the principle

    In a recent lawsuit it has been discovered that even scientists at the US FDA concluded that GE may cause the appearence of unexpected substances, which invalidates the principle. This occurred already before GE foods were put on the US market in 1994. FDA records delivered to the court revealed that the agency declared genetically engineered foods to be safe in the face of disagreement from its own experts--all the while claiming a broad scientific consensus supported its stance, see FDA records support the lawsuit challenging its policy (June 1999)   [EL]   .


The Biotech proponents have been calling the critizism of the substantial equivalence "alarmistic" and "technophobic", claiming that the opposing scientists are "oddballs", not representative of "mainstream science". Never have the biotech proponents been able to provide any substantial scientific evidence in favor of it. Instead they have regressed to such manipulation of the feelings of people, media and politicians, who have become confused about this issue.

We feel a great relief that finally the real truth is becoming recognized, revealing the deceptive nature of the GE food "information" of the Biotech lobby.

"Genetically Engineered Food - Safety Problems"
Published by PSRAST

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