Need to know the facts? Go to http://gmoseralini.org/
When a scientific study was published in September last year showing that a genetically modified maize and tiny amounts of the Roundup herbicide it is designed to be grown with damaged the health of rats, Corinne Lepage MEP called it “a bomb”. The study, by Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini’s team at the University of Caen, France, was the first to test the effects of eating a GM food and its associated pesticide over the animals’ lifetime of two years. The study found that GM maize and Roundup caused severe organ damage and increased tumour rates, as well as earlier death.
Lepage knew that if Seralini’s findings were taken seriously, the implications for GM firms and regulators were huge – GM foods are approved on the basis of rat feeding studies that last 90 days at most, equivalent to only seven to nine years in human terms. The tests are done by the same GM companies that want to market the GM seeds. The European Food Safety Authority has argued that even these short tests are not always needed.
Monsanto’s 90-day rat feeding study on this same GM maize had found differences in the GM-fed rats. But the EFSA claimed they were “of no biological significance” and agreed with Monsanto that the maize was as safe as non-GM maize. Séralini’s team obtained Monsanto’s raw data and re-analysed it. They found signs of liver and kidney toxicity in the GM-fed rats, publishing their findings in 2009.
Séralini carried out his recent study to follow up these initial findings of toxicity and to see if they were insignificant, as the EFSA claimed, or if they developed into serious disease. The findings were alarming. The initial signs of toxicity in Monsanto’s 90-day study developed into full-blown liver and kidney damage over the longer two-year period. The first tumours only showed up four to seven months into the study, peaking at 18 months.
The common sense conclusions were clear. The 90-day tests routinely done on GM foods are simply too short to see effects that take time to show up, such as organ damage and cancer. And regulatory agencies like the EFSA may be liable for allowing unsafe GM foods onto the market. But this common sense conclusion was not allowed to gain traction. Within hours of the study’s release, it was shouted down as flawed and meaningless by a chorus of scientist critics.
Many scientists, unconnected with Séralini’s group, are alarmed by what they see as suppression of scientific findings that are inconvenient to commercial or political interests. Some contacted me (Claire Robinson
Public Service Europe) with their concerns and we joined forces to create a website, GMOSeralini.org, to offer the public and journalists a balanced view of Séralini’s findings and what they mean for our health.