New GMO Studies Demonstrate ‘Substantial Non-Equivalence’
Studies document substantial differences of GM maize and GM soybean from their conventional non-GM counterparts, exposing a permissive regulatory regime that has failed miserably in protecting public health and biodiversity.
Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji
Several new studies carried out by scientists independent of the biotech industry are showing up glaring differences between GMOs and their non-GMO counterparts. This makes a mockery of the regulatory principle of ‘Substantial Equivalence’ which has facilitated approvals of GMOs with practically no protection for public health and the environment  (see  The Principle of Substantial equivalence is Unscientific and Arbitrary, ISIS news).
The principle of ‘Substantial Equivalence’
The concept of ‘Substantial Equivalence’ was first introduced in 1993 by the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD), an international economic and trade organisation, not a public health body. The principle states that if a new food is found to be substantially equivalent to an already existing food product, it can be treated the same way as the existing product with respect to safety. This concept has greatly benefited the trade of GM produce, allowing it to effectively bypass regulatory requirements that would apply to novel food and other products including novel chemical compounds, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and food additives, all of which require a range of toxicological tests and can be subject to legal limitations on safe consumption/intake.
Regulatory agencies including the US Food and Drug Administration, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare, generally base their GM food safety regulations on substantial equivalence.
There are many good reasons for consumers to feel unprotected by these regulatory policies, not least because the principle itself is designed to be as flexible and open to interpretation for the approval of just about any and every GMO submitted. In practice, the principle allows the comparison of a GM line to any existing variety within the same species, and even to an abstract entity made up of ingredients from a collection of species. This means that a GM variety can have all the worst traits of many different varieties and still be deemed substantially equivalent [1, 2]. Traits used for comparisons are also based solely on gross and insensitive chemical compositional tests such as levels of carbohydrate, protein and sugars. This process cannot even begin to tackle safety issues. Ironically, for the GMOs to be patentable as they are, a clear novelty, i.e., a difference or non-substantial equivalence is indeed required.
Independent assessments of substantial equivalence have shown how this ill-defined practice is not only inadequate but untrustworthy [3- 5], and the new studies most clearly confirm this.
Studies in Egypt showed substantial non-equivalence and toxicity for GM corn In April 2013, an Egyptian publication led by Professor El-Sayed Shaltout at Alexandria University found that Monsanto’s 810 Corn (Ajeeb-YG®), modified to express the insecticidal Bt Cry1Ab gene, has increased total protein, crude fat, crude fibre & total saccharides and decreased starch content compared with non- GM Ajeeb corn. Abnormal levels of certain amino acids, fatty acids and elements were also recorded . These compositional differences only gave the merest hint of the toxicity of the GM corn revealed in previous male rat feeding studies conducted by the same team documenting a wide range of organ and tissue abnormalities [7, 8]. Liver cells displayed vacuolation and fatty degeneration. The kidneys had congested blood vessels and dilation of renal tubules. The testes showed signs of necrosis and desquamation of spermatogoneal germ cells lining the seminiferous tubules. The spleens were congested with slight lymphocytic depletion. The small intestines showed hyperplasia and hyperactivation of mucous secretory glands, with necrosis of intestinal villi. Most certainly, the GM corn was not substantially equivalent to non-GM corn.
GM and non-GM soybeans not substantially equivalent
Read the rest of this report here
New GMO Studies Demonstrate ‘Substantial Non-Equivalence’
Also see my entry on this from three years ago.
Substantial equivalence- anything but equivalent or substantial
This is the misleading precept that the biotech /chemical companies have been using since the introduction of GM seeds (or rather, their shoving them down our throats without respect for the precautionary principle and without our consent) to "legally" validate their existence and the subsequent profits of these companies at the expense of our biodiversity, health and food system.
It is a ruse they have been getting away with because it has been assumed that this "substantial equivalence" smokescreen they are hiding behind can't be challenged. I truly think this is why labeling initiatives also wind up failing because they can use this as a reason why labels are not needed. We need to tear down this substantial equivalence curtain to expose them.
This is also why they work to discredit any reputable scientists who dare expose the truth about their garbage- because it null and voids their substantial equivalence smokescreen which is the basis of their existence. Knock that down and they would fall like the tower of Mordor. I am encouraged by seeing that there are scientists not bowing to the gagging and intimidation because bringing the truth about this GMO scam is imperative to preserving the biodiversity of our planet and our genetic health.
Case in point:
Monsanto's Roundup may be linked to fatal kidney disease, new study suggests
Substantially equivalent? No way.