• Scientists join forces to challenge claims genetically modified food is safe for humans
  • The Environment Secretary has launched a campaign to win sceptical public over
  • Scientists warn there is ‘serious’ lack of research into health effects of GM food

By Sean Poulter, Consumer Affairs Editor

PUBLISHED: 18:24 EST, 20 October 2013 | UPDATED: 02:01 EST, 21 October 2013

Good News Arrives in Open Envelope and LetterEighty-five scientists have joined forces to challenge the claims of biotech giants and the UK government that GM food is safe for humans.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, who has responsibility for food and farming, and the industry have embarked on a huge public relations exercise to win over a sceptical public to genetically modified food.

The campaign is built on an assurance that the food is safe to eat and could defeat a host of ills from malnutrition in the Third World to blindness in children.

GM supporters also insist crops are safe for the environment and to be used as animal feed.

However, these assurances have been questioned by the scientists, who warn there is a serious lack of independent research into the health effects of GM food.

Studies involving feeding trials with animals suggest eating GM food could cause real harm, such as allergies, inflammation of internal organs and even breast cancer.

The group has signed a joint statement which concludes: ‘The claimed consensus on GM organism safety does not exist.’

They warn that most of the positive research has been run and paid for by biotech companies such as Monsanto, which have invested millions in trying to get the world to eat their crops.