Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

French GM Corn Study Not Scientifically Valid

Last month’s study out of France that said genetically modified corn and a related herbicide caused organ damage, tumors, and early death among rats broke too many rules and should be dismissed as “of insufficient scientific quality,” the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says.

When it was published in Food and Chemical Toxicology in September, the study led by Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini seemed like it might be a game-changer because it questioned the safety of Roundup Ready corn, or NK 603, manufactured for use in both the U.S. and Europe by biotech giant Monsanto.

EFSA had previously found maize NK603 is as safe as conventional maize.

And now in a major push-back against the study out of the University of Caen, EFSA says there are just too many shortcomings to consider the work to be scientifically sound.

“Some may be surprised that EFSA’s statement focuses on the methodology of this study rather than its outcomes; however, this goes to the very heart of the matter,” said Per Bergman, the agency’s director of scientific evaluation of regulated products. “When conducting a study it is crucial to ensure a proper framework is in place. Having clear objectives and the correct design and methodology create a solid base from which accurate data and valid conclusions can follow. Without these elements a study is unlikely to be reliable and valid.”

Bergman headed an EFSA task force from the agency’s genetically modified organisms (GMO), pesticide, and scientific assessment units. It concluded the study has many issues that need to be resolved. Specifically called out were:

• The strain of rat used in the two-year study is prone to developing tumors during their life expectancy of approximately two years. This means the observed frequency of tumors is influenced by the natural incidence of tumors typical of this strain, regardless of any treatment. This is neither taken into account nor discussed by the authors.
• The authors split the rats into 10 treatment sets but established only one control group. This meant there was no appropriate control for four sets — some 40 percent of the animals — all of whom were fed GM maize treated or not treated with a herbicide containing glyphosate.
• The paper has not complied with internationally recognized standard methods — known as protocols — for setting up and carrying out experiments. Many of these procedures were developed by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).
• For a study of this type, the relevant OECD guideline specifies the need for a minimum of 50 rats per treatment group. Séralini et al used only 10 rodents per treatment set. The low number of animals used is insufficient to distinguish between the incidence of tumors due to chance rather than specific treatment effects.
• The authors have not stated any objectives, which are the questions a study is designed to answer. Research objectives define crucial factors such as the study design, correct sample size, and the statistical methods used to analyze data — all of which have a direct impact on the reliability of findings.
• No information is given about the composition of the food given to the rats, how it was stored or details of harmful substances — such as mycotoxins — that it might have contained.
• It is not possible to properly evaluate the exposure of the rats to the herbicide, as intake is not clearly reported. The authors report only the application rate of the herbicide used to spray the plants and the concentration added to the rats’ drinking water but report no details about the volume of the feed or water consumed.
• The paper does not employ a commonly used statistical analysis method nor does it state if the method was specified prior to starting the study. The validity of the method used is queried and there are questions over the reporting of tumor incidence. Important data, such as a summary of dropouts and an estimation of unbiased treatment effects have not been included in the paper.
• Many endpoints — what is measured in the study — have not been reported in the paper. This includes relevant information on lesions, other than tumors, that were observed. EFSA has called on the authors to report all endpoints in the name of openness and transparency.

Bergman said the consideration of possible long-term effects of GMOs has been, and will continue to be, a key focus of EFSA’s work to protect animals, humans and the environment.

In the controversial study, rats fed Roundup Ready corn were exposed to Roundup weed killer, and reportedly developed tumors, liver and kidney damage and early death.

The findings instantly became political fodder in both the U.S. and Europe. They’ve figured into California’s “Right to Know” campaign (Proposition 37), calling for labeling food products that are genetically modified. And, Europe’s biotech industry known as EuropaBio said the research was being used as a “scare tactic.”

One GMO opponent sees a silver lining in EFSA’s rebuke of the study — it may led to accepted methodologies for testing the safety of future GMO crops.

© Food Safety News
  • John Wagoner

    How
    is it that the study by Gilles-Eric Séralini ( the French Rat Study ) uses the same
    experimental protocol ( sample size, rat variety, etc. ) that
    Monsanto used to justify the safety of their Round Up Ready Corn,
    just tested the rats for their life span, instead 90 days, and
    these experiments are somehow not valid ? I smell corporate rats.

    Since 70 percent of the corn grown in the US are  the
    Monsanto varieties then its safe to conclude if the product ( made
    from corn ) is not labeled organic then it is secretly made from
    GMO corn. Think about those pictures of the rats with tumors
    the next time you eat your corn flakes !!

    If you care to read an article on this subject that’s not propaganda, google:
    Study linking GM maize to cancer must be taken seriously by regulators
    by John Vidal, guardian.co.uk Guardian.

    Why have no newspapers run a story on these studies. Only critical editorials
    have been published. Shouldn’t the possibility of the corn being
    unsafe be headlines news ??

    • LeeRaque

      Because the corn is not unsafe!

      • http://twitter.com/JNavarr0 Jose Nav

        If its so safe then why is monsatin spending 30+ million to ban GMO labeling here in Cali. What are they hiding?

        • FoodSci

          No one is looking for a “ban”. Hyperbole.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/E23RYGHB4JKVLXCOEF5HWRGUJM J

            Jose said, “… to ban GMO labeling…” Millions ARE looking for a ban, a ban on the marketing of unlabeled produce and processed foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. That is not the same as a ban on the sale of GMOs.

        • william032

          Because the media has made the perception of gmo products is that they are full of chemicals. A gmo is like an interracial couple where the optimum outcome is offspring that will have the traits needed to thrive. Gmo are members of the same species but different genus.

          • Marissa Hursh

            Not all GMO are crosses within species. Some GMO corn has fish genes in it. Something about helping it withstand cold weather better. Outside of plant material, Chinese scientists have put human genes into cows to make cow’s milk that is closer to human breast milk. It’s not accurate to portray GMO products as the same as generations of conventional cross-breeding, only faster.

    • http://profiles.google.com/edgeben Benjamin Edge

      The reason why Seralini’s study is meaningless, despite the same number of rats per treatment, is partly BECAUSE it lasted the lifetime of the rats.  The longer the rats are kept alive, the more probability there is that they will develop tumors, just based on chance.  This strain of rats is expected to get tumors at a high rate during their lifetime. If the same study were run again (preferably by someone other than Seralini), the control group could just as easily have twice as many tumors as the treatments, due to chance alone.  But the difference in neither study would be valid – the study does not give you any way to tell if the differences are REAL. 

      To be statistically valid, when you compare multiple treatments against the same control group, you have to have more rats in the control group, or have more control groups, or adjust your probabilities accordingly, so that it takes a larger difference to be significant. Seralini did none of that. In fact, if he did any statistical analysis at all on the differences in number of tumors, it was not reported.

      Seralini says they did not use more rats because it was a toxicology study, not a cancer study. Then he turns around and the claims are all about the tumors and photos of tumors are shown, but interestingly, none from the control group, which even the study says had tumors.

      The reason the study did not make headlines, outside of France, is that the weaknesses in the study were quickly brought to attention, despite Seralini’s efforts to control the media. That and the overwhelming evidence that says that Roundup Ready corn is no different from conventional corn from a safety or nutritional standpoint.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JJ6FBKACCM6A7OKABCDI6744KI yahoo-JJ6FBKACCM6A7OKABCDI6744KI

    Monsanto employs Blackwater/Xe private mercenary security thugs.  How much do you want to bet they have been “visiting” EFSA members? “Debunk this study or we will murder your children” is all they need to say to get their way…

    • LeeRaque

      Monsanto does NOT hire Blackwater private mercenaries as you call them.
      In fact, Blackwater is NO longer in business.

      • http://twitter.com/JNavarr0 Jose Nav

        Monsatin hires Mickey Mouse websites like foodsafetynews to publish their garbage.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JJ6FBKACCM6A7OKABCDI6744KI yahoo-JJ6FBKACCM6A7OKABCDI6744KI

        LeeRaque, you ignorant NOBODY… notice that I wrote blackwater/XE… blackwater IS in business.  They changed their name to XE.  And then a little while later, I believe they changed their name yet again to something else that I don’t recall.  Go GOOGLE it and learn for yourself. 

  • StopGMO108

    Great article from Europe—

    Why Monsanto’s attempt to “disappear” tumours by using historical control data is invalid

    An Earth Open Source briefing, 26 September 2012

    http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/128-why-monsantos-attempt-to-disappear-tumours-by-using-historical-control-data-is-invalid

  • Chris Ashby

    who cares, everyone knows who the bad guys are here, everyone knows what food is poisonous, everyone knows you dont pick rats specifically because they are prone to tumors…..bs, bs and more bs, from THE MONSTERS who are involved in depopulating this planet thru slow poisoning of dumb humans.

    • LeeRaque

      The dumb humans are those who refuse to use well grown, safe products no matter who produces them.
      By the way there are ways of removing human population that would be far more swift and thorough then
      food poisoning.  There are so many wonderful uses of genetically modified bacterium/virus and other terrific systemic destroyers.  No finger prints anywhere.
      You want to live a scared life be sure and check under  your beds for commies.
      Support transitional farming to the full vote for George Romney and Paul Ryan.  Obama will cut out all trials with GMAO’s.  He has caused enough problems as well as his birth problems and his religious heritage.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7W5X47MM7LWNQA5TKVZMBYKONU yahoo-7W5X47MM7LWNQA5TKVZMBYKONU

         And what exactly are President Obama’s “birth problems and religious heritage”? He was born in the USA and is a Christian.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

    Can agree that there are errors with this report, and its findings. 

    However, the study does make a good point: we need to be doing longer term studies. 

    “One GMO opponent sees a silver lining in EFSA’s rebuke of the study — it may led to accepted methodologies for testing the safety of future GMO crops.”

    Agree with the GMO opponent.

    • LeeRaque

      You people who are afraid of any GMO product are just scaring yourseves.
      Any product will become a GMO after a couple of years.  Ever hear of evolution?

      • http://twitter.com/JNavarr0 Jose Nav

        Evolution is now related to GMO poison…. Maybe you should use the money Monsatin is giving you to get an education.

  • LeeRaque

    People are living longer, healthier and more active lives then ever before.  So what is the complaint?
    Most people don’t eat the same things day after day.  I have eaten G+ corn for years and even raised some in the yard along with tomatoes, onions, squash.  My mother just passed at 94 with no problems other than she was finally tired.
    I have no intention of going back to vegies that can’t be made better. Have you eaten the better tomatoes grown hydroponically?  They come to us from Holland and France.  US is now starting to raise them this way in the Coachella Valley.  They taste and smell better by far than the old time heirloom products.
    Sorry but we will continue with our farming using modern products without the constant spraying, pulling and picking of various weeds, bugs etc.
    We even grew a two hundred pound pumpkin..it may still be larger by Halloween.

  • StopGMO108

    GMOs Test UnSafe—Here’s Why You Never Hear About It

    October 04, 2010

    By Jeffrey Smith

    Arpad Pusztai 

    Biologist Arpad Pusztai had more than 300 articles and 12 books to his credit and was the world’s top expert in his field.

    But when he accidentally discovered that genetically modified (GM) foods are dangerous, he became the biotech industry’s bad-boy poster child, setting an example for other scientists thinking about blowing the whistle.

    In the early 1990s, Dr. Pusztai was awarded a $3 million grant by the UK government to design the system for safety testing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). His team included more than 20 scientists working at three facilities, including the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, the top nutritional research lab in the UK, and his employer for the previous 35 years.

    The results of Pusztai’s work were supposed to become the required testing protocols for all of Europe. But when he fed supposedly harmless GM potatoes to rats, things didn’t go as planned.

    Within just 10 days, the animals developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partially atrophied livers, and damaged immune systems. Moreover, the cause was almost certainly side effects from the process of genetic engineering itself. In other words, the GM foods on the market, which are created from the same process, might have similar affects on humans.

    With permission from his director, Pusztai was interviewed on TV and expressed his concerns about GM foods. He became a hero at his institute — for two days.

    Then came the phone calls from the pro-GMO prime minister’s office to the institute’s director. The next morning, Pusztai was fired. He was silenced with threats of a lawsuit, his team was dismantled, and the protocols never implemented. His Institute, the biotech industry, and the UK government, together launched a smear campaign to destroy Pusztai’s reputation.

    Eventually, an invitation to speak before Parliament lifted his gag order and his research was published in the prestigious Lancet. No similar in-depth studies have yet tested the GM foods eaten every day by Americans.

    Irina Ermakova

    Irina Ermakova, a senior scientist at the Russian National Academy of Sciences, was shocked to discover that more than half of the baby rats in her experiment died within three weeks. She had fed the mothers GM soy flour purchased at a supermarket. The babies from mothers fed natural non-GMO soy, however, only suffered a 10% death rate. She repeated her experiment three times with similar results.

    Dr. Ermakova reported her preliminary findings at a conference in October 2005, asking the scientific community to replicate her study. Instead, she was attacked and vilified. Her boss told her to stop doing anymore GM food research. Samples were stolen from her lab, and a paper was even set fire on her desk. One of her colleagues tried to comfort her by saying, “Maybe the GM soy will solve the overpopulation problem.”

    Of the mostly spurious criticisms leveled at Ermakova, one was significant enough to raise doubts about the cause of the deaths. She did not conduct a biochemical analysis of the feed. Without it, we don’t know if some rogue toxin had contaminated the soy flour. But more recent events suggest that whatever caused the high infant mortality was not unique to her one bag of GM flour.

    In November 2005, the supplier of rat food to the laboratory where Ermakova worked began using GM soy in the formulation. All the rats were now eating it. After two months, Ermakova asked other scientists about the infant mortality rate in their experiments. It had skyrocketed to over 55 percent.

    It’s been four years since these findings were reported. No one has yet repeated Ermakova’s study, even though it would cost just a few thousand dollars.

    Andrés Carrasco

    Embryologist Andrés Carrasco told a leading Buenos Aires newspaper about the results of his research into Roundup, the herbicide sold in conjunction with Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops.

    Dr. Carrasco, who works in Argentina’s Ministry of Science, said his studies of amphibians suggest that the herbicide could cause defects in the brain, intestines, and hearts of fetuses. Moreover, the amount of Roundup used on GM soy fields was as much as 1,500 times greater than that which created the defects.

    Tragically, his research had been inspired by the experience of desperate peasant and indigenous communities who were suffering from exposure to toxic herbicides used on the GM soy fields throughout Argentina.

    According to an article in Grain, the biotech industry “mounted an unprecedented attack on Carrasco, ridiculing his research and even issuing personal threats.” In addition, four men arrived unannounced at his laboratory and were extremely aggressive, attempting to interrogate Carrasco and obtain details of his study. “It was a violent, disproportionate, dirty reaction,” he said. “I hadn’t even discovered anything new, only confirmed conclusions that others had reached.”

    Argentina’s Association of Environmental Lawyers filed a petition calling for a ban on Roundup, and the Ministry of Defense banned GM soy from its fields.

    Judy Carman

    Epidemiologist Judy Carman used to investigate outbreaks of disease for a state government in Australia. She knows that health problems associated with GM foods might be impossible to track or take decades to discover. Moreover, the superficial, short-term animal feeding studies usually do not evaluate “biochemistry, immunology, tissue pathology, gut function, liver function, and kidney function” and are too short to test for cancer or reproductive or child health.

    Dr. Carman has critiqued the GMO approval process on behalf of the Public Health Association of Australia and speaks openly about her concerns. As a result, she is repeatedly attacked. Pro-GM scientists threatened disciplinary action through her Vice-Chancellor, and circulated a defamatory letter to government and university officials.

    Carman was awarded a grant by the Western Australia government to conduct some of the few long-term animal feeding studies on GMOs. Apparently concerned about what she might find, GMO advocates wrote letters to the government demanding that the grant be withdrawn. One scientist tried to convince the Western Australia Agriculture minister that sufficient safety research had been conducted and he should therefore cancel the grant.

     As his evidence, however, he presented a report summarizing only 60 GMO animal feeding studies — an infinitesimal amount of research to justify exposing the entire population to GM foods.

    A closer investigation, however, revealed that most of the 60 were not safety studies at all. They were production studies, measuring, for example, the animals’ carcass weight. Only 9 contained data applicable to human health. And 6 of the 9 showed adverse effects in animals that ate GM feed!

    Furthermore, there were several other studies with adverse findings that were mysteriously missing from the compilation. Carman points out that the report “does not support claims that GM crops are safe to eat. On the contrary, it provides evidence that GM crops may be harmful to health.”

    When the Western Government refused to withdraw the grant, opponents successfully interfered with Carman’s relationship with the university where she was to do the research.

    Terje Traavik

    Prominent virologist Terje Traavik presented preliminary data at a February 2004 meeting at the UN Biosafety Protocol Conference, showing that:

    Filipinos living next to a GM cornfield developed serious symptoms while the corn was pollinating;
    Genetic material inserted into GM crops transferred to rat organs after a single meal; and
    Key safety assumptions about genetically engineered viruses were overturned, calling into question the safety of using these viruses in vaccines.

    The biotech industry mercilessly attacked Dr. Traavik. Their excuse? — he presented unpublished work. But presenting preliminary data at professional conferences is a long tradition in science, something that the biotech industry itself relied on in 1999 to try to counter the evidence that butterflies were endangered by GM corn.

    Ironically, three years after attacking Traavik, the same biotech proponents sharply criticized a peer-reviewed publication for not citing unpublished data that had been presented at a conference. The paper shows how the runoff of GM Bt corn into streams can kill the “caddis fly,” which may seriously upset marine ecosystems. The study set off a storm of attacks against its author, ecologist Emma Rosi-Marshall, which Nature described in a September 2009 article as a “hail of abuse.”

    Companies Prevent Studies on Their GM Crops

    When Ohio State University plant ecologist Allison Snow discovered problematic side effects in GM sunflowers, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Dow AgroSciences blocked further research by withholding GM seeds and genes.

    After Marc Lappé and Britt Bailey found significant reductions in cancer-fighting isoflavones in Monsanto’s GM soybeans, the seed seller, Hartz, told them they could no longer provide samples.

    Research by a plant geneticist at a leading US university was also thwarted when two companies refused him GM corn. In fact, almost no independent studies are conducted that might find problems. According to a scathing opinion piece in an August 2009 Scientific American,

    “Agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers … Only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal.”

    A group of 24 corn insect scientists protested this restriction in a letter submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency. They warned that the inability to access GM seeds from biotech companies means there can be no truly independent research on the critical questions. The scientists, of course, withheld their identities for fear of reprisals from the companies.

    Restricted access is not limited to the US. When a Japanese scientist wanted to conduct animal feeding studies on the GM soybeans under review in Japan, both the government and the bean’s maker DuPont refused to give him any samples. Hungarian Professor Bela Darvas discovered that Monsanto’s GM corn hurt endangered species in his country. Monsanto immediately shut off his supplies.

    Dr. Darvas later gave a speech on his preliminary findings and discovered that a false and incriminating report about his research was circulating. He traced it to a Monsanto public relations employee, who claimed it mysteriously appeared on her desk — so she faxed it out.

    GMO Contamination: Don’t Ask and Definitely Don’t Tell

    In 2005, a scientist had gathered seed samples from all over Turkey to evaluate the extent of contamination by GM varieties. According to the Turkish Daily News, just before her testing was complete, she was reassigned to another department and access to her lab was denied.

    The unexpected transfer may have saved this Turkish scientist from an even worse fate, had she discovered and reported contamination.

    Ask Ignacio Chapela, a microbial ecologist from UC Berkeley. In 2001, he discovered that the indigenous corn varieties in Mexico — the source of the world’s genetic diversity for corn—had become contaminated through cross pollination with GM varieties.

    The government had a ban against GM corn to prevent just this possibility, but apparently US corn imported for food had been planted nonetheless.

    Dr. Chapela submitted the finding to Nature, and as a courtesy that he later regretted, informed the Mexican government about the pending publication. He was called in to meet with a furious Director of the Commission of Biosafety and GMOs. Chapela’s confirmation of contamination would hinder introduction of GM corn. Therefore the government’s top biotech man demanded that he withdraw his article. According to Chapela, the official intimidated and threatened him, even implying, “We know where your children go to school.”

    When a traumatized Chapela still did not back down, the Underminister for Agriculture later sent him a fax claiming that because of his scientific paper, Chapela would be held personally responsible for all damages caused to agriculture and to the economy in general.

    The day Chapela’s paper was published, Mary Murphy and Andura Smetacek began posting messages to a biotechnology listserve called AgBioWorld, distributed to more than 3,000 scientists. They falsely claimed that Chapela was biased, that his paper had not been peer-reviewed, that Chapela was “first and foremost an activist,” and his research was published in collusion with environmentalists. Soon, hundreds of other messages appeared, repeating or embellishing the accusations. The listserve launched a petition and besieged Nature with a worldwide campaign demanding retraction.

    UC Berkeley also received letters from all over the world trying to convince them not to grant Chapela tenure. He had overwhelming support by his college and department, but the international biotech lobby was too much. Chapela’s tenure was denied. After he filed a lawsuit, the university eventually reversed its decision.

    When investigators later analyzed the email characteristics sent by agitators Mary Murphy and Andura Smetacek, the two turned out not to be the average citizens they claimed. According to the Guardian, both were fabricated names used by a public relations firm that worked for Monsanto. Some of Smetacek’s emails also had the internet protocol address of gatekeeper2.monsanto.com — the server owned by Monsanto.

    Science and Debate is Silenced

    The attacks on scientists have taken its toll. According to Dr. Chapela, there is a de facto ban on scientists “asking certain questions and finding certain results.” He says, “It’s very hard for us to publish in this field. People are scared.” He told Nature that young people “are not going into this field precisely because they are discouraged by what they see.”

    New Zealand Parliament member Sue Kedgley told a Royal Commission in 2001: “Personally I have been contacted by telephone and e-mail by a number of scientists who have serious concerns about aspects of the research that is taking place … and the increasingly close ties that are developing between science and commerce, but who are convinced that if they express these fears publicly … or even if they asked the awkward and difficult questions, they will be eased out of their institution.”

    University of Minnesota biologist Phil Regal testified before the same Commission, “I think the people who boost genetic engineering are going to have to do a mea culpa and ask for forgiveness, like the Pope did on the inquisition.” Sue Kedgley has a different idea. She recommends we “set up human clinical trials using volunteers of genetically engineered scientists and their families, because I think they are so convinced of the safety of the products that they are creating and I’m sure they would very readily volunteer to become part of a human clinical trial.”

    To learn more about the health dangers of GMOs, and what you can do to help end the genetic engineering of our food supply, visit http://www.ResponsibleTechnology.org.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=799585022 Chris Abbott

    Most pesticides in use today have not been tested for their health effects on children. This is a major problem. Recent scientific studies involving laboratory animals show that many pesticides damage the developing brain and nervous system. Certain types of pesticides mimic hormones. Scientists have discovered that some pesticides have the ability to mimic or compete with hormones…
    .

    • Khnobes

       Non-sequiter. Roundup isn’t a pesticide.  Has it been studied, though?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1178618980 facebook-1178618980

    If GMOs are safe and beneficial to farmers and health, wouldn’t Monstanto appreciate the free advertising mandatory labeling would provide?

    Some stuff really isn’t that hard to figure out. Have you ever seen a GM Corn field. It’s just a big mass of corn with wide rows they run the Roundup sprayers through every day. It’s gross.

    Oh, but Roundup is safe. So is DDT, Agent Orange, and PCBs. Monsanto has always made safe, healthy products. USA!

    • Reliefvet

      Great comment, made my day.  I am no fan of Monsanto, but to think that farmers are spraying Round-up daily is the most absurd thing I have ever read.  It is difficult to have a sound discussion on an important issue when so much rank foolish is present in such a wide swath of people.  It really is not your fault, I quess, you have never had the chance to learn what modern food production entails.  You are sadly far from alone.
      Tin foil hats everyone!!

    • http://profiles.google.com/edgeben Benjamin Edge

      “Have you ever seen a GM Corn field. It’s just a big mass of corn with wide rows they run the Roundup sprayers through every day.” 

      Evidently, YOU have never seen a GM corn field, because what you describe does NOT occur in normal corn production, GM or otherwise. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are mistaking corn detasslers for sprayers.  Hybrid seed production fields have to be detassled every day during the pollinating season so that no selfing occurs. So you MIGHT be seeing these going through the fields every day, but usually they will have farm workers riding on them pulling the tassles out by hand.

  • http://twitter.com/GMOjournal GMO Journal

    GMWatch has done an excellent job in keeping up with this controversy and separating the wheat from the chaff. Here are two articles worth reading:
    1) Who is EFSA fooling by stifling debate? http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14295:who-is-efsa-fooling-by-stifling-debate-french-politician

    2) Scientists’ response to Seralini critics slams double standards: http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14288:scientists-reponse-to-seralini-critics-slams-double-standards

    GMO Journal
    http://www.gmo-journal.com

  • Jeff

    Oh really?  You have all these shortfalls about this study??  And I supposed EFSA is conducting a similar study right now with all the “proper” protocal to verify these claims????  Oh you mean they aren’t??  Oh…well then by all means keep eating this mutant corn.  Good luck with the cancer. 

  • missanthrop

    First, I take issue with the idea that Prop 37 was powered by, or even affected by this study. I was a campaign member, and this study was a footnote on a nearly concluded campaign.

    Second, the most important thing to come out of this study, besides that fact that someone actually bothered to test a GM food product, was the scope.

    This study didn’t show adverse outcomes until one month longer than the duration of in-house Monsanto tests. The validity of the study, doesn’t not affect its impact on the scope of the Monsanto study that gave rise to it.

    Not to mention, the critique on scientific validity is only partly merited. The animals exposure to Bt was directly related to the amount of corn in feeding, but that quantity is by design, an unknown. I’ve read the study. I’ve also heard scientists online attacking the study for its statistical rigor, but I’ve looked at that, and given the data, PCA, or Principle Component Analysis was appropraite. If someone thinks PCA was not the best way to explore the data, they could, if so inclined, retest it using whatever statistical rigor suited them. The data is there. The problem is that going up against biochem is a very quick way to lose your grant money, no one is going to be motivated to design that study. Pay attention folks. Almost all tests done on GE organisms are not done to look at food safety. This test was one of a small number and should have given rise to a better study, not dismissal.

    I’ve also seen this study met with criticism from neuroscientists trolling youtube videos from the Prop 37 campaign, that this study was not done double blind with control. But here’s another important reason why that is not a valid criticism. Most tests on GEs have to be done on animals. They can’t be done on humans, because we’ve been unwittingly exposed for almost two decades. There isn’t a one of us that hasn’t been exposed. So, there can not be a control group, unless you use animals, and there can not be a double blind study, unless you use humans.

    If you think this study is invalid. Look to the small number of others. At the very least it should raise a few questions, and beget new research designs.

  • Cairenn Day

    That is a strain of rats that will develop cancer no matter what they are fed. They are bred to easily get tumors. If you don’t work in the proper labs, there is no reason you would have ever seen any.

    “Tumours: Mammary tumours 41% in females and 23% in males, pituitary adenomas
    36% in females and 24% in males, testicular interstitial cell tumours
    85% in males. Other tumour types less common (Sass
    et al 1975). Thyroid carcinoma 22% (Lindsey
    et al 1968). Interstitial cell testicular tumours 65%, mononuclear
    cell leukaemia 24%, subcutaneous fibroadenoma 9% in females. Both sexes
    have a 5% incidence of nodular hyperplasia of the liver. (Davey and Moloney 1970). In various studies incidence of
    leukaemias 23-26% and of testicular intersticial tumours 65-90% (Jacobs and Huseby 1967, Davey
    and Moloney 1970, Moloney et al 1970, Sass et al 1975,
    Cockrell and Garer 1976). Uterine polyploid tumours of endometrial
    origin 21% (Jacobs and Huseby 1967). In
    germ-free conditions leukaemia 26% in males, 36% in females, mammary tumours
    12% in males 20% in females, all other tumours 9% in males, 5% in females
    (Sacksteder 1976).”

    http://www.informatics.jax.org/external/festing/rat/docs/F344.shtml

    There are many sources on the web that will tell you about these rats–that is only only one strain that I posted, there are several of them.

    Seralini is NOT a hero, he is a liar. Not only that but he makes real researchers look bad.

    FACTS –you don’t get to choose them. BAD SCIENCE is just BAD

    • Marissa Hursh

      As long as the sample size is adequate to accurately show a statistically significant difference between the two groups (the experimental group and the control group), it shouldn’t matter if the species of rat is prone to tumors — only if the rats fed GMO feed show a statistically significant increase in the number of tumors as compared to the control group. I was very interested in this study, but I can understand how a control group of ten rats (if that is indeed the case) would not be adequate to prove statistical significance. All this means, however, is that the study needs to be repeated with more rats, and slightly more rigorous methods. I hope someone does repeat it, and I suspect that they will find similar results.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678162576 Ce Gzz

    Have you noticed younger generations overdose on HFCS? This artificial sugar has mercury involved in its process. Now as yourself again why they would have more problems than people who are older.
    On the other hand women may protest against GM corn or soy, yet they intake for more than 5 years in their life contraception pills, which are proven to be correlated with cancer. BIG SURPRISE!

  • Valentin

    well… you can say whatever… I came to canada as a healthy young guy. I don’t smock, don’t drink, exercise, don’t overeat process foods or meat… Diet where more than 50% of veggies and fruits… Well… I loved corn… I used soya and bean sprouts… The result – 20 years later multiple large tumors on my both kidney, thyroid… multiple cysts… For one year I eating only organics and veggies grown on my friends garden… Tumors stop growing. No more discussions for me – GMO and “conventional ” farming with pesticides and chemical fertilizers – silent killer.

  • BrandonEss

    Cancer rates are also increasing. So whats the complaint? When your children get cancer and die early, or when your neighbors children get diseases caused by GMO’s, then tell me what the complaint is there. Cancer is a purely man made disease. There was no trace of cancer in Egyptian mummies, or up until around the 1500′s. At that point it was extremely rare, and until the past 2 decades, still rare. We have seen a spike in cancer rates since the introduction of GMO’s, not to mention sports injuries such as torn ligaments, which I have suffered first hand, that could have something to do with the lack of nutrients in GMO’s, such as Protein. Protein builds bone strength and strength and repair in ligaments, which GMO’s have up to 25% less protein than a naturally grown organic food. They also have up to 1/4 less disease fighting nutrients, such as 19-30% less cancer fighting oxidants in Genetically Modified Soy. Eating that over a lifetime will in turn have an effect and as we have seen the increase in health problems relate to GMO’s. It is true that some people are lucky enough not to get cancer or other diseases, but the majority of GMO eaters do, and the odds are definitely not in your favor. We can use a United States writer disregarding a study by the French, who may I remind you have a much lower obesity, cancer, and heart disease rate than the country we consider so great. Europe isn’t as advanced as us, seeing as how 98% of them have banned the Fluoride that we find in our everyday tap water. Lastly, take this into account: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and George W. Bush (among the few high class American citizens) all have natural, organic diets. The truth is GMO’s are cheaper, but at what cost is your life? The 50 extra cents you spend on organic bananas? If you can’t spend that for your health and well being, I definitely suggest you reconsider your priorities.

  • BrandonEss

    You all need to wake up. Look at the facts. Instead of biased news and Monsanto reports. The ethics of these companies are always in question, as it is not about the health of the consumer, but the health and profit of the company itself. Capitalism. Gotta love it. Technology will be the death of us, and we are on the way to a point of no return.

  • william032

    The first wide spread gmo product was dwarf wheat in the 60′s. Thats 50+ years. You also have to realize that the rates of cancer rising is not actually proven, the medical science has greatly improved the detection of cancer. Up until autopsies became required in the 70′s many deaths by cancer were never known. Corrolation does not mean causation. This gmo backlash I fear will have the same effect that the banning of ddt had. DDT has been shown to have Zero heath effects to humans, yet the banning of ddt has yielded over an estimated 100,000,000+ deaths in Africa. Should gmo products be studied yes, should they be banned before any reputable scientific research has been done NO.

    • j

      dwarf wheat was not a GMO, it was conventionally bred.

  • william032

    Child mortality was much higher in the 18th and 19th centuries. And Further more The younger generation not going to live longer is a scare tactic not supportable by any real scientific measures. The total number of cancer cases has increased but the cancer ratio in the population has stayed relatively the same between 1930-2010. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db88.htm And aneurysms in the brain usually are birth defects.

  • Laetitia Van Der Spuy

    I agree with you Simarra, too little time has passed to prove what MONSANTO’s BIOTECH scientists want us to believe. BUT, regardless of all the “reasoning” people use to support GMO… I will NEVER be convinced that it is beneficial to humans, animals, insects or the environment. GMO is BAD … I make it my business on a daily basis to remind people in South Africa and elsewhere about how bad GMO is and I try to wake them up from their ignorance about it. I fully understand the power of word of mouth.

  • Laetitia Van Der Spuy

    Regardless of all the “reasoning” or “science” people use to support GMO… I will NEVER be convinced that it is beneficial to humans, animals, insects or the environment.
    Our human bodies are THE smartest science laboratories ever and it reveals clearly that their is poison in our food. GMO is BAD … I read and research extensively … more than the general public does. I also make it my business on a daily basis to remind people in South Africa and elsewhere about how bad GMO is and I try to wake them up from their ignorance about it. I fully understand the power of word of mouth and I understand the POWER of ONE! I am a mother and I want my family to be blessed and healthy. They need wholesome nutrient dense organic food to sustain them to fulfil their purpose on earth and they all are evidence that it does. Many other people from my extended family struggled with serious health issues and when they changed their food to organic … their health improve! What more evidence do I need.

    • Jeremy Rawley

      American Association for the Advancement of Science: “Foods containing ingredients from genetically modified (GM) crops pose no greater risk than the same foods made from crops modified by conventional plant breeding techniques, the AAAS Board of Directors has concluded. Legally mandating labels on GM foods could therefore “mislead and falsely alarm consumers…”

      http://www.aaas.org/news/aaas-board-directors-legally-mandating-gm-food-labels-could-%E2%80%9Cmislead-and-falsely-alarm

      Food and Agriculture Organization: “Scientists generally agree that genetic engineering can offer direct and indirect health benefits to consumers (ICSU). Direct benefits can come from improving the nutritional quality of foods (e.g. Golden Rice), reducing the presence of toxic compounds (e.g. cassava with less cyanide) and by reducing allergens in certain foods (e.g. groundnuts and wheat).”

      http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/Y5160E/y5160e10.htm#P3_1651The

      Environmental Protection Agency: “Glyphosate is of relatively low oral and dermal acute toxicity. It has been placed in Toxicity Category III for these effects (Toxicity Category I indicates the highest degree of acute toxicity, and Category IV the lowest).”

      http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/0178fact.pdf

      American Medical Association: ”There is no scientific justification for special labeling of genetically modified foods. Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.”

      http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/csaph/a12-csaph2-bioengineeredfoods.pdf

      World Health Organization: ”No effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of GM foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved.”

      http://www.who.int/…/publications/biotech/20questions/en/

      The Royal Society of Medicine: ”Foods derived from GM crops have been consumed by hundreds of millions of people across the world for more than 15 years, with no reported ill effects (or legal cases related to human health), despite many of the consumers coming from that most litigious of countries, the USA.”

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2408621/

      The European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation: ”The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are no more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies.”

      http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf

      A study from the Union of the German Academies of Science and Humanities further debunking anti-GMO’ers’ lies:

      http://www.akademienunion.de_files/memorandum_gentechnik/Memorandum_Green_BiotechnologyII.pdf

      The Society for In-Vitro Biology: ”The SIVB supports the current science-based approach for the evaluation and regulation of genetically engineered crops. The SIVB supports the need for easy public access to available information on the safety of genetically modified crop products. In addition, the SIVB feels that foods from genetically modified crops, which are determined to be substantially equivalent to those made from crops, do not require mandatory labeling.” http://www.sivb.org/publicPolicy_CropEngineering.asp

      The Society of Toxicology: ”Scientific analysis indicates that the process of GM food production is unlikely to lead to hazards of a different nature than those already familiar to toxicologists. The level of safety of current GM foods to consumers appears to be equivalent to that of traditional foods.”http://www.toxicology.org/ai/gm/gm_food.asp

      “Transgenic Plants and World Agriculture” – Prepared by the Royal Society of London, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy, the Mexican Academy of Sciences, and the Third World Academy of Sciences:“Foods can be produced through the use of GM technology that are more nutritious, stable in storage, and in principle health promoting – bringing benefits to consumers in both industrialized and developing nations.”
      http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9889&page=1

      Golden Rice Project:
      http://www.goldenrice.org/

      These and hundreds of other studies all came to the same conclusion: GMOs are FINE! THEY’RE SAFE TO EAT! Stop with the anti-science fear-mongering, shut up, and accept the fact that they’re safe and more nutritious than non-GM foods! You have no right to reject science and make baseless claims rooted in paranoia and fear!

  • Sekula

    Death to Monsanto. It’s either us or them.