Letter: Allergic to GM soya

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Sir: My eldest son has become allergic to all kinds of soya since the introduction of genetically modified soya into food.

He suffers from allergies to a wide range of foods, for which he is treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Soya was a mainstay in his restricted diet. From being a happy, healthy, developing child, he went into a slow decline from autumn 1997, following the start of the introduction of GM soya into foods in the UK, losing weight from severe diarrhoea.

Eventually the hospital and I worked out that he had become sensitised to soya and that all ordinary and GM soya now triggered allergic reactions. This has serious implications for his health, as he loses a valuable source of carbohydrate and protein and a source of nice replacement foods for those who cannot eat wheat, gluten or milk. His already restricted diet has become even more so and more boring when he needs to be encouraged to eat. He is left able to eat rice, maize and potatoes as sources of carbohydrate.

I am extremely concerned that GM maize may end up with a similar effect. An accident of genetics has left all three of my children with the same food allergy problems, and my other two children now react to soya, but not as severely as my oldest son.

While no one can accurately say what effect genetic modifications between species will have on the healthy, it is only too obvious to me and my family what the impact is on the vulnerable. I have great fears about the impact of GM maize on us.