Dr. Michael W. Fox

Journal of AVMA and GMOs

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The American Veterinary Medical Association “Supports Safety” of GMO and GE Foods

                                               By Dr. Michael W. Fox*

I e-mailed the following letter to the editor of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association on June 5th, 2017:

The AVMA Board of Directors, under the advisement of the AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee, has accepted the sophistry of industrial agriculture’s creation of genetically engineered crops and their incorporation into the food chain for humans, farmed and companion animals.(1). The AVMA asserts there is a “broad scientific consensus that approved GMO and GE crops and foods are safe for human and animal consumption.”  The safety data reviewed by the AVMA’s food Safety Advisory Committee was most reliably provided by the agribiotechnology industry itself. That this new policy position “addresses a gap within AVMA position statements” reveals a significant gap in considering peer-reviewed animal studies on the adverse effects of GMOs and associated herbicide ( glyphosate) residues.(2). These studies at least call for applying the precautionary principle to GMO crops and foods which are not substantially equivalent to conventional crops and foods as advocates claim.

Another review of  animal safety studies of GM (genetically modified) foods concludes that “The results of most of the rather few studies conducted with GM foods indicate that they may cause hepatic, pancreatic, renal, and reproductive effects and may alter hematological, biochemical, and immunologic parameters the significance of which remains unknown”.(3).

Yet another critical review found that "Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted.--- We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity....These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown."(4).

One advocate of GMOs states: “Recent findings show that genetic material in plant foods may survive digestion, circulate through our bodies and modulate our gene expression. These findings could alter our understanding of nutrition, genetic regulation and open up new vistas for engineering foods”. (5). This could be a beneficial avenue toward medicinal foods in the realm of nutrigenomics but not until the risks and costs of creating GMOs and GE foods and the documented nutrigenic diseases associated with some of them as already documented in several controlled laboratory animal studies. (6).

Yet another analysis of toxicity studies asserts: ”There is substantial literature that reports the detection of DNA and protein unique to GM plants within animals and animal products. Based on studies, it is not possible to conclude that animals and derived products are free of GM material when they have been exposed to GM plants through i) feeding, ii) proximity to other animals on GM feed, or iii) subsequent processing. The most consistent finding in the literature is that---- there is compelling evidence that animals provided with feed containing GM ingredients can react in a way that is unique to an exposure to GM plants.” (7)

Research continues in this under-funded but critical food (and environment) safety issue and present findings that question the veracity of the food industry’s contracted animal safety tests that lead to their gaining government approval. ( 8-12). In my opinion it is misleading to consumers and pet owners in particular for the AVMA to unconditionally support GMO and GE foods and to imply that it is unnecessary to label foods containing GMO or GE ingredients. Considering the state of the science and evident lack of scientific consensus outside of the agribusiness circle, such labeling should be more than discretionary, simply up to the food provider/manufacturer, but resected as a right of all consumers to be informed.

I would join the Board of Directors of the AVMA and “support safety of GMO and GE crops”, as per the ambiguously stated title of this journal announcement, but this does not mean that they are safe. I would support more caution and third-party, long-term, generational safety testing to support any claims as to the safety of these new crops and foods.


1. JAVMA Board of Directors, AVMA supports safety of GMO and GE crops. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2017; 250: 1208

2. Domingo J L. Toxicity studies of genetically modified plants: A review of the published literature. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 2007; 47: 721 – 733.

3. Dona A. Arvanitoyannis, IS. Health risks of genetically modified foods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2009; 49: 164-175. Available from http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm.  Also visit www.criigen.org/SiteEn/index

4. de Vend˘mois JS, Roullier F. Cellier D, et al. A comparison of the effects of three GM corn varieties on mammalian health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726.

5. Hirschi KD. New foods for thought. Trends Plant Sci. 2012; 17:123-5.

6. Fox MW.  pp 100-108 in Healing animals and the vision of one health. CreatSpace Books, Amazon.com 2012

7. Heinemann JA.  Report on animals exposed to GM ingredients in animal feed
Prepared for the Commerce Commission of New Zealand
24 July 2009 (Prof Heinemann's study is available here: http://bit.ly/4HcJuJ
Or via the Commerce Commission web site, at the bottom of the following page:

8. Seneff, S. Swanson N. and Li C. Aluminum and glyphosate can synergistically induce pineal gland pathology: Connection to gut dysbiosis and neurological disease. Agricultural Sciences, 2015; 6: 42-70. doi: 10.4236/as.2015.61005.

9 Samsel A. and Seneff S. Glyphosate suppression of cytochrome P450 enzymes and amino acid biosynthesis by gut microbiome: Pathways to modern diseases, Entropy 2013; 15: 1-48.

10. SÚralini G. E.  Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicology 2012; 50: 4221-4231.

11. Judy A. Carman JA. Vlieger HR. Ver Steeg LJ. et al.  A long-term toxicology study on pigs
fed a combined genetically modified (GM) soy and GM maize diet. Journal of Organic Systems  2013;8: 38-54. Open access full text:

12. Tudisco R S. Calabr˛ MI. Cutrignelli G. et al. Genetically modified soybean in a goat diet: Influence on kid performance. Small Ruminant Research 2015; 126: 67–74.

Michael W. Fox BVetMed, PhD, DSc, MRCVS

Golden Valley Minnesota.

E-mail ipan@erols.com

Website www.drfoxvet.net



I received the following surprisingly rapid and detailed response a mere three days later on June 8th, 2017, rejecting my letter primarily because the research studies that I cited were allegedly flawed. Clearly this was the established response of the agribiotechnology industry to discredit any and all research studies on the safety of GMOs and GE foods,  and to disinform in order to defuse public concern over GMOs and GE foods.

 Dear Dr. Fox,

 Thank you for your recent letter to the editor. The JAVMA encourages publication of a wide variety of opinions. However, we ask that letter writers back up their opinions with reliable scientific citations. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case for your letter. For example, the two critical reviews you cite (Domingo [2007] and Dona and Arvanitoyannis [2009])—both essentially calling for more research—are 10 and 8 years old and, therefore, do not take into account the large number of studies that have been published in the interim. The report by de Vendomois et al (2009) has been widely discounted because of questionable statistical methods and the fact that the authors do not address the biological relevance of their statistically significant findings. The editors of Entropy published an expression of concern for the report by Samsel and Seneff (2013) to make readers aware that the approach to collating literature citations for the article was likely not systematic and may not reflect the spectrum of opinions on the issues. The article by Seralini (2012) was retracted by Food and Chemical Toxicology because the results were inconclusive and did not reach the threshold of publication (although, admittedly, the article was later republished by a different journal). The report by Judy et al (2013) has been criticized because the authors did not actually evaluate stomach inflammation, instead using only visual scoring of the stomach lining. And, the report by Tudisco et al (2015) is currently under investigation by the journal and university because of potential image duplication and data fabrication (a separate article from this research group has been retracted).

Given these concerns, I am afraid that we will not be able to proceed with publication of your letter.


Kurt J. Matushek, DVM, MS, DACVS

Editor-in-Chief| Publications Division
American Veterinary Medical Association

 o: 847.285.6768 | www.avma.org


Following the rejection of this letter I sent it on to some old colleagues in the field to ask them for their comments and more recent documentation of the adverse health consequences of GMOs and GE foods and associated glyphosate residues in animals’ food.

 Don M. Huber Professor Emeritus, Purdue University, sent me:

Josephs Dissertation, ethics of GMO regulation-17.pdf

Josephs Dissertation, ethics of GMO regulation-17.pdf
9 MB  
View  Download


One of my contacts in the U.K., Ian Panton, sent me an interview with molecular scientist Prof. Michael Antoniou of Kings College, London University England:


Notably Ulrich E. Loening (2015)  “reviews the many criticisms of the publication by Seralini et al (2012) which has led to so much controversy, was retracted and then republished in this journal. Seralini et al found that a GM maize and its associated herbicide Roundup resulted in numerous chronic abnormalities in rats. The vehemence of the critics is not matched by their evidence; it is often based on entrenched assumptions and on mis-representing published material. The arguments have challenged normal healthy scientific dialogue, and appear to be driven by other motives. A further interpretation of Seralini et al's results on tumour formation is suggested. The probability that Seralini et al's results are significant is sufficient to justify further study”. (Loening, U.E. (2015) A challenge to scientific integrity: a critique of the critics of the GMO rat study conducted by Gilles-Eric SÚralini et al. (2012). Environ Sci Eur27, 4221)..

  In secret internal Monsanto documents released  by legal firms in the U.S. it was made clear how Monsanto successfully pressured Wallace Hayes, Editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal to retract the famous SÚralini study, which discovered the damage caused by GM maize NK603 and low doses of Roundup herbicide on rats. Monsanto Secret Documents Show Massive Attack on Seralini Study:http://sustainablepulse.com/2017/08/01/monsanto-secret-documents-show-massive-attack-on-seralini-study/#.WYCOGIR97IU

Dr. Jonathan Latham with The Center for Media and Democracy posted
Wednesday, July 26,2017: The Bioscience Resource Project and the Center for Media and Democracy today are releasing a trove of rediscovered and newly digitized chemical industry and regulatory agency documents stretching back to the 1920’s exposing decades of collusion between industry and regulators over hazardous pesticides and other chemicals.  The documents are available at 


The position taken by the AVMA is in alignment with agribusiness, food and pharmaceutical corporate interests, as per their close financial support from and alliance with drug and pet food industries; and most notably their endorsement (along with the American Medical Association) of FDA approval of Monsanto’s  rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) in 1994. This was prohibited for use by the dairy industries by the governments of Canada, the U.K. and the European Union for reasons documented in my book Killer Foods The Lyons Press, 2004) taken from my testimony before an FDA panel that went on to approve this product for use by U.S. dairy farmers. A spokesperson for the AVMA, whose position was that the milk from rBGH-injected cows was safe, with whom I met to share my concerns about rBGH declined to involve her organization in any opposition to government approval, telling me “The market will determine its acceptability”.

But the question of animal and human consumer safety of GMOs and GE foods is only part of the issue when one considers the well documented social, economic, environmental and ecological impact of this branch of corporate industrial agriculture, from contributing to the demise of the Monarch butterfly, genetic contamination of conventional, organic and landrace crop varieties and the evolution of “superweeds” to the economic annihilation of more sustainable farming practices and the suicides of Indian farmers. These are salient aspects of the One Health paradigm which the AVMA purports to advocate and could take a leadership role to help corporate and other vested interests especially in the global agribusiness sector apply both sound science and bioethics to their products, practices and services.

 Clearly the discrediting of other scientists whose work I cited in my letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association has been well orchestrated to influence the professional position and opinion of organized veterinary medicine in the Unites States of America as a way to gain broader public acceptance, legislative and political endorsement and support being long established by the technocracy and its corporate investors.

At this time of writing a class action suit against Monsanto by cancer victims claiming they were harmed by exposure to Roundup herbicide has resulted in the release of documents that reveal how the toxicity of this and other Monsanto chemicals was concealed from regulatory agencies and the public eye. These were released in August 2017---see


---The same Monsanto manager, Dr. George Levinskas, who helped hide the carcinogenic potential of PCBs in the 1970s, has now been shown, in California court documents released Tuesday, to have also influenced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the carcinogenic potential of the World’s most used herbicide – glyphosate – in the 1980s.


*Honor Roll member of the AVMA and author of Killer Foods: When Scientists Manipulate Genes, Better is Not Always Best. (The Lyons Press 2004). Website www.drfoxvet.net













Check the link below for a Dr. Fox C-Span feature concerning "Animal Testing"

Dr. Michael W. Fox on C-Span

--Video Link--

Dr. Michael W. Fox

What right do we humans have to exploit other animals?  Where does that right come from and what are the limits if any?  What duties or obligations do we have in our relationships with our dogs, cats and other animals domesticated and wild?

          Follow and support Caroline Kraus and her Moments of Truth Project documentary film as she travels across the U.S. asking people, who variously live, work with and care for animals, these and other relevant questions.

Is there an overriding consensus and what are the reasons why people respond very differently to these questions, which in part examine our character, culture and future?

The viewing and discussion of this kind of documentary should be part of every school curriculum and will be of interest to all who work with, profit from and care for animals. Project Home Page: http://momentsoftruthproject.com/  To see the interview with Dr. Fox go to http://momentsoftruthproject.com/dr-michael-fox/