Study Finds Roundup Ready Soybeans Have 12-14% Less

Phytoestrogens than Non-GE Soybeans

CETOS News Release

Gualala, California, July 1, 1999: Independent non-profit group discovers differences in Roundup Ready Soybeans. A study published today in the Journal of Medicinal Food (Vol. 1, no.4, 1999) presents new information about biologically active components in soybeans which are genetically modified to withstand Monsanto's Roundup® herbicide.

Dr. Marc Lappé, Director of the Center for Ethics and Toxics (CETOS) and principal investigator says, "Based on corporate representations, the phytoestrogen concentrations of Monsanto's Roundup Ready and conventional soybeans were supposed to be equivalent. But the initial industry studies were performed on unsprayed soybeans. We found significant differences when we examined herbicide-sprayed soybeans analogous to those used in foods.

The study shows an overall reduction in phytoestrogen levels of 12-14 percent in the genetically altered soybean strains. Most of this reduction was attributable to reductions in genistin and to a lesser extent daidzin levels, which were significantly lower in modified compared to conventional soybeans in both strains. The apparent differences found may be an important discovery because consumers tend to buy soy products for their naturally occurring phytoestrogens which are thought to protect against breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. As genetically engineered strains replace conventional ones, any differences in phytoestrogen levels becomes increasingly important.

In 1992, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a policy statement for foods derived from new plant varieties, including plants developed by recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques. In the policy, the FDA states it "will require special labeling if the composition of a food differs significantly from its conventional counterpart." But, to date, there are no labels on foods which contain genetically engineered byproducts in the United States. The new data suggest the FDA may have to review its current labeling policy.

The study , Alterations in Clinically Important Phytoestrogens in Genetically Modified, Herbicide-Tolerant Soybeans (© Maryanne Liebert Publishers, J. of Med. Food), comes on the heels of considerable European opposition to bioengineered foods. Until now, those resisting bioengineered foods have not little scientific support for concerns about bioengineered foods. As Dr. Lappé states, "Now they do. I think it is ironic a small non-profit in Gualala, California is conducting research which should have been conducted by the agency which is supposed to be protecting human health, the Food and Drug Administration. We hope our work is repeated and expanded by other groups."

For more information contact: Marc Lappé, Ph.D. The Center for Ethics and Toxics PO Box 673, Gualala, CA 95445 USA. Http://www.cetos.org. Email: cetos@cetos.org, Telephone/Fax : 707-884-1846

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed for research and educational purposes only. **


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