Elec. Telegraph: GM Soy milk causes herpes?

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["Soya" is British for "soy".]


ISSUE 1528 Sunday 1 August 1999

GM soya milk gives children herpes, senior surgeon tells the Government, By Rajeev Syal

A LEADING British surgeon is to give evidence to the Government that genetically modified soya milk triggered a herpes-related virus in her daughter.

The surgeon, from south-west London, will explain that cold sores repeatedly erupted on her two-year-old's face when she regularly drank the GM product and immediately cleared when she stopped.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said last week that it would investigate her claims. The revelations coincide with worries expressed by the Prince of Wales earlier this year and a number of leading geneticists who believe that some GM products can trigger viruses in humans.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter said she wants to make sure that a similar situation is not repeated with other children. She said: "I want the Government to look into this because I saw the change in my daughter - as soon as she was taken off the GM milk, her health dramatically improved. I, and my GP, have not found any other reasons why she became ill. My family previously ate GM products without worrying - but now we do not."

Tests have showed that the child is not allergic to soya milk, which her mother began feeding her in February 1998, when she was just a year old because she had developed an allergy to dairy products. The girl immediately began developing large cold sores which did not respond to treatment. She was drinking about four pints of the milk every day - and the sores were getting worse.

Her mother, a 38-year-old plastic surgeon in a London hospital, said: "I became aware that she was not getting better. There seemed to be three large, weeping sores on her face at any one time." So she spoke to a friend - who is also a hospital-based geneticist - who warned her that critics of GM products are worried that they could provoke viral infections.

She cut the amount of soya milk her daughter was drinking to half a pint a day and the sores cleared up overnight. She said: "The circumstantial evidence was there for all to see." Critics of GM foods believe that "virus promoters" - pieces of DNA in plants that can control activity in its genes - could be responsible for triggering the herpes virus. But other experts disagreed.

Prof Jim Dunwell, a plant biotechnologist from the University of Reading, who has been involved in producing GM plants, said it is highly unlikely that plant viruses could provoke reactions in human beings. He said: "It sounds highly unlikely that this child has had her herpes provoked by soya milk. It is more likely to be an allergic reaction."

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), August 01, 1999

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