By Heather Callaghan, Editor
It’s the stuff of sci-fi nightmares – an illegal strain of genetically engineered bacteria has been detected in EU animal feed through a GMO vitamin.
Jonathan Landsman, PhD and Allison Wilson, PhD claim in a new report:
Genetically engineered (GE) bacteria have been found in riboflavin vitamin supplements intended for animal feed use according to newly published EU tests.
Contamination of food grade or animal feed supplements with GE bacteria is illegal in the European Union. In 2014, however, a German enforcement laboratory alerted EU officials to illegal GE bacterial contamination of a riboflavin supplement intended for animal feed. Further tests showed that the illegal contaminating strain was not among those the manufacturer claimed to be using.
The findings, just published in the journal Food Chemistry, were made by regulators from Germany and Italy who were sampling Chinese imports (Paracchini et al., 2017).
But here’s the real kicker…
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) unbeknownst to many was mainly chemically synthesized until recently. The aforementioned report was a revelation that riboflavin is now frequently produced by commercial fermentation using overproducing strains of GE bacteria!
Landsman and Wilson add:
According to EU biosafety regulations, no GMO bacterial strain, nor any DNA, is allowed to be present in commercial supplements. However, the contaminated sample of riboflavin contained viable strains of the genetically modified organism Bacillus subtilis. The researchers cultured and tested the contaminating bacterium and subsequent DNA sequencing showed it to be a production strain.
It gets worse….
Further testing showed it to contain genomic DNA conferring resistance to the antibiotic chloramphenicol. In addition, the strain contained DNA extrachromosomal plasmids with other antibiotic resistance genes. These conferred resistance to the antibiotics, ampicillin, kanamycin, bleomycin, tetracycline, and erythromycin. [emphasis added]
European Food Safety Authority regulations state that antibiotic resistance genes “should be restricted to field trial purposes and should not be present in GM plants to be placed on the market” according to Janet Cotter of Logos Environmental.
Unfortunately, it sounds like, from Landsman and Wilson’s report that the antibiotic resistant GE strain has already entered the food chain.
Discussions between German and Chinese authorities plus the company determined that the antibiotic resistance in the genes established “key differences” between what the company claimed it was using versus those detected in Germany. Landsman and Wilson say it is unclear whether the altered strains were used intentionally, without thought to contamination or used inadvertently.
This and other “great escapes” on the part of GMOs are precisely why consumers and scientists shout down the use of untested biotech. Not because they are Luddites, but because they sincerely don’t want to screw over future generations with a seriously barren ecosystem.
As far as any action on our part we can be adamant with lawmakers that this gross negligence of our food supply will not be tolerated. Above all, do not take GMOs in your food lightly. Do not spend money on them and say “hell no to GMO!” any time the opportunity warrants the openness of your truth and knowledge.
We appreciate those who share this news far and wide – we couldn’t raise awareness without you!