In September 2012 the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) published the research of a team led by the French biologist Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, which found liver and kidney toxicity and hormonal disturbances in rats fed Monsanto’s GM maize NK603 and very small doses of the Roundup herbicide it is grown with, over a long-term period. An additional observation was a trend of increased tumours in most treatment groups.
In November 2013 the study was retracted by the journal’s editor, A. Wallace Hayes, after the appointment of a former Monsanto scientist, Richard E. Goodman, to the editorial board and a non-transparent review process by nameless people that took several months.
Did Monsanto pressure the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) to retract the study? French journalist Stéphane Foucart addresses this question in an article for Le Monde.
The article shows the total subordination of Goodman to Monsanto. It also reveals how Hayes played a double role in the retraction of the study, acting behind the scenes to encourage Monsanto scientists to join the reviewing panel that would feed their views into the decision to retract.
Influence of chemical companies on academics
Foucart examined emails disclosed as a result of a freedom of information request submitted by the food transparency organisation US Right to Know (USRTK). Foucart writes that the emails “reveal the influence of the chemical companies on some academics”.
Foucart points out that scientific papers are normally retracted only due to fraud, plagiarism, or honest error. Séralini’s study did not fall into any of these categories and was the first to be retracted on grounds of "inconclusiveness”. Supporters of Séralini challenged a newcomer to the editorial board of FCT, in charge of biotechnology. Richard E. Goodman is a Professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln (USA) and specialist food allergens. He is also a former employee of Monsanto, which he left in 2004.