HC Deb 14 October 2002 vol 390 cc497-8W
Alan Simpson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the research findings published by the Food Standards Agency on the transfer of GM DNA from food to bacteria in the human gut,(a) what level of GM DNA was present in the commercial samples fed to participants in the research, (b) what proportion of the GM DNA was complete rather than in fragments, (c) to what extent the research looked at whether GM DNA passed through the gut and into the blood stream and blood cells, (d) what reference was made to the experiment on mice, post 1997, documenting the ability of GM DNA to pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream, the liver and spleen and (e) which scientific experts concluded from this research that humans were not at risk. [73190]

Ms Blears

×1012 copies of the transgene were present in the 454g commercial sample fed to the participants. Survival of the genetically modified (GM) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was variable. 4.2×107 and 2.7×108 copies of the full-length fragment was detected in the digesta from two of the seven ileostomy patients. Nevertheless, intact DNA was not shown to be transferred to intestinal tract bacteria. The aim of the research, which has been peer reviewed, was to study the fate of ingested DNA in the gastrointestinal tract. Transfer of GM DNA into the bloodstream did not fall within the scope of the project. Scientists carrying out the work have drawn their own independent conclusions on the results. The broad implications of the studies on gene transfer will be discussed at an open meeting of the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes in November.