Toxic pesticides which are implanted into genetically modified food crops have lodged in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn babies, research shows.
Scientists at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Quebec, took dozens of samples from women.
Traces of the toxin were found 93pc of the pregnant mothers and in 80 per cent of the umbilical cords.
The research suggested the chemicals were entering the body through eating meat, milk and eggs from farm livestock which have been fed GM corn.
The findings appear to contradict the GM industry’s long-standing claim that any potentially harmful chemicals added to crops would pass safely through the body.
To date, most of the global research which has been used to demonstrate the safety of GM crops has been funded by the industry itself.
It is not known what, if any, harm the chemicals might cause but there has been speculation it could lead to allergies, miscarriage, abnormalities or even cancer.
One of the researchers told the scientific journal Reproductive Toxicology: “This is the first study to highlight the presence of pesticides associated with genetically modified foods in maternal, foetal and nonpregnant women's blood.”
Pete Riley, the director of GM Freeze, a group opposed to GM farming, described the research as “very significant”.
The Agriculture Biotechnology Council, which speaks for the GM industry, has questioned the reliability and value of the research.
Dr Julian Little, its chairman, said: “Biotech crops are rigorously tested for safety prior to their use and over two trillion meals made with GM ingredients have been safely consumed around the world over the past 15 years without a single substantiated health issue.”