A French study released at the end of September claimed there are cancer concerns from eating genetically modified (GM) corn and the use of glyphosate herbicide in conjunction with the corn, but scientists around the world have called the design of the rat feeding study and the reported results a mockery of science.
Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, the study’s principal lead and results author, a molecular biologist and endocrinologist, has an open anti-GM agenda of trying to claim their are dangerous effects from GM crops/foods. Nearly every true scientist without an anti-GM agenda and the European Union’s regulatory agencies have refuted Seralini’s previous claims and this latest one, too.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a statement saying it “does not see a need to re-examine its previous safety evaluation of maize (Monsanto’s) NK603 nor to consider these findings in the ongoing assessment of glyphosate.”
Several scientists didn’t mince words about the study and the lead researcher. One of those outspoken critics is Bruce Chassy, Ph.D., professor emeritus, University of Illinois Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. “Let’s get to the core of the matter, the senior author of the study (Sealini) is a very prominent anti-GM crusader in Europe. He is funded by people who are anti-GM. He is the president of the board of scientific directors of an anti-GM NGO, which he hosts at his university laboratory, which I find odd. And he has a long history of papers that get discredited as bad science that attack GM. He has written and said he is opposed to GM. So, you have both bias and conflict of interest,” said Chassy during a segment of AgriTalk radio.
The rat feeding study results claimed a high number of rats died from tumors after being fed NK603 corn, which is resistant to glyphosate herbicide. Scientists noted the control group and total number of rats tested, and the number of those who developed tumors and died while eating the GM corn was completely unscientific. The researchers used the Sprague-Dawley line of rats that is bred to be highly susceptible to the development of tumors. That particular strain has a more than 80 percent chance of growing tumors within two years under non-experimental conditions, noted many scientists including members of the American Society of Animal Science.
“What’s wrong with this study? I can’t even count the ways,” said Alison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D., a Cooperative Extension specialist at the University of California-Davis, who was quoted by Dan Murphy, a contributing columnist for Vance Publishing. “The authors refused to share their data with other scientists, they didn’t perform a statistical analysis of the data and the strain of rats they used is known to spontaneously develop tumors.
Van Eenennaam concluded by saying, “To suggest that the tumors were the result of Roundup, the GMOs or an interaction between the two is ludicrous. It’s Fantasyland stuff.”
Monsanto issued its own disclaimer of the results, which didn’t receive as much attention as independent scientists. The basics to the Monsanto reply are the same as all the independent scientists. Monsanto provided eight bullet points of errors in the design and results announced by the French study team.
Even with the huge outcry by scientists in Europe and the U.S. that the study results are “garbage,” as one scientist was quoted as saying, anti-GM groups throughout the world are spreading the bogus results as proof that we should be afraid of all GM crops.
Groups in California are using the French study to support why any food should be identified as possibly having GM crop ingredients. The California Proposition 37 proponents and anti-GM groups have shown they are grasping at anything to prove GM crops are dangerous. But those involved in the biotech-GM industry note there has never been real proof about health concern with any registered GM crop.