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Unethical Journal Retraction Fuels Mistrust in GMO Science

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

In September of last year, the first-ever lifetime feeding study assessing the health risks of genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready corn (NK603) was published in Reed Elsevier's peer-reviewed journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology.

The two-year long study led by Gilles-Eric Seralini revealed shocking health effects, including massive tumors and early death.

Rats given glyphosate in their drinking water also developed tumors. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, which has recently been implicated as a major contributor to chronic disease. Needless to say, Seralini's findings set off a fire-storm of opposition from the industry.

Last month, the publisher retracted the study saying it "did not meet scientific standards." While no errors or misrepresentation of data were found, the study had too small a sample size to make any definite conclusion about health effects, Elsevier said.

According to Reuters:

"The journal said that while it received many letters expressing concerns about the validity of the findings, the proper use of animals and even allegations of fraud, its own investigation found 'no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.'

'However, there is a legitimate cause for concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group and the particular strain selected,' it said."

Seralini Defends His Research

Seralini vehemently defends his research, and according to some sources may end up taking the issue to court. He's certainly no stranger to legal battles. A mere two years ago, he won a libel case against the French Association of Plant Biotechnologies. As reported by GM Watch in January 2011:

"Seralini sued for libel following a smear campaign... This was part of a furious response from the GM industry to a number of papers by Seralini and colleagues which demonstrated serious statistical and other shortcomings in the Monsanto research dossiers submitted in support of applications for the approval of three GM varieties.

The papers had not argued that the Monsanto GM maize lines were actually dangerous, but had simply argued that there were no grounds for assuming them to be completely harmless. They asked for further research and longer animal feeding studies than those that had been conducted."
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