Lamb that was part of a medical experiment has been sold in Paris. This alone is nothing to worry about – except that the lamb was genetically modified with jellyfish fluorescent genes, and it is illegal to sell GM food in France.
The National Research Institute says that the meat was sold to a slaughterhouse last year. According to a report from the French newspaper Le Parisien, the lamb named “Ruby” was part of a “Green Sheep” experiment born to a ‘glowing’ mother at France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), where scientists used the lamb to study the impacts of various implants used in people with heart failure.
“A lamb born from a genetically modified sheep through a medical research program was sold to a particular Francilien in October 2014. Although this sheep without risk to humans or the environment, the Institute has informed the Meaux prosecutor of this breach of the code of the environment. The facts had indeed been concealed by an officer of the Institute.”
The mother lamb’s DNA had been altered with green fluorescent protein (GFP), which made her skin transparent, and bright in color.
The slaughterhouse that purchased the ‘green sheep’ then sold it to an unnamed individual, and it is unclear how many people have since eaten the meat, although at least one report has come forward in Paris.
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The INRA says that the genetically modified sheep pose no health risk to humans. They also state that the person who sold the meat to the slaughterhouse will be suspended. The French government may also choose to fine the INRA heavily and sentence the responsible party(ies) to prison time.
“Without prejudice to the disciplinary proceedings, INRA took its responsibilities (4) view of the seriousness of the above individual acts, and reported the incident to the prosecutor of Meaux June 15, 2015, by communicating all information and documents in his possession.
This lamb belonged, under current regulations, genetically modified organisms in Group I, ‘whose risk to human health and the environment is nil or negligible (5).’ The research unit who piloted this scientific project enjoyed an approval.
Faced with this unprecedented incident, the Institute, by all the steps and procedures involved, acts transparently in accordance with the values it stands for almost 70 years.”