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Russia Suspends Use of Genetically Modified Corn

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Russia's consumer-rights watchdog said Tuesday it has suspended the import and use of a genetically engineered corn made by Monsanto Co. following a study's findings that suggested the crop might cause cancer.

The consumer-rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said the country's Institute of Nutrition has been asked to assess the validity of the study.

The study, conducted by France's University of Caen and published last week, found that rats fed over a two-year period with the U.S. crop-biotechnology company's genetically modified NK603 corn, marketed under the Roundup Ready brand name, developed more tumors and other severe diseases than a test group fed with regular corn.

The study also found that rats fed with NK603 and exposed to St. Louis-based Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller suffered from more pathologies than the test group. The corn variety is genetically engineered to withstand glyphosate, a weedkiller that Monsanto sells under the Roundup label.

The study has been greeted with skepticism by many scientists and nutritionists. The Science Media Centre, a London independent group that compiles reaction to published research, posted critical comments from several experts who said the sample size was too small and the data incomplete, among other criticisms.

Monsanto reiterated Tuesday that nothing in the study warranted a ban on the biotech seed. 

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