Séralini’s study reveals major safety concerns in Monsanto’s NK603 GMO corn. His reputation and the study were smeared by Monsanto in a bizarre story of deliberate misinformation and lies. In 2017, secret Monsanto documents revealed how Monsanto strategized to attempt to discredit the study and pressure the publisher to retract the study. It has since undergone several additional peer reviews- all said the same thing, the science is good and the study has been republished.
“Séralini’s study was published in 2012, and used the same type of rats (Sprague-Dawley rats or SD rats for short) that Monsanto used for its chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity studies on glyphosate, the main ingredient of Roundup herbicide.
Séralini found that a Monsanto GMO Roundup-tolerant maize and very low levels of the Roundup herbicide it was engineered to be grown with caused severe organ damage and hormonal disruption in rats fed over a long-term period of two years. Unexpected additional observations were increased rates of large palpable tumors and premature death in some treatment groups. Again though, the study was chronic toxicity study- not a carcinogenicity study.”
Séralini’s findings were alarming. Both GMO maize NK603 and Roundup caused serious kidney and liver damage.
“These serious effects had not shown up in Monsanto’s 90-day test simply because it was too short. Chronic diseases like organ damage and hormonal disruption can take time to develop and become obvious.
Within hours of the study’s release, it came under sustained attack from pro-GM lobbyists and scientists. Leading the campaign to discredit the study was the UK’s Science Media Centre, an organization that defends and promotes GM technology and has taken funding from GMO companies like Monsanto and Syngenta.”
Séralini’s critics soon turned their attention to trying to get the journal that had published the study to retract it. https://sustainablepulse.com/2017/08/01/monsanto-secret-documents-show-massive-attack-on-seralini-study/#.XAqooS2ZPeQ
“The study was also dismissed by regulatory agencies, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). However, these were the same agencies that had previously approved this or other GM foods as safe. EFSA had also previously argued that 90-day feeding trials were sufficient to see even chronic (long-term) toxic effects, adding that even these short tests were not always necessary.
The criticisms rely on a misrepresentation of the study – that it was a flawed carcinogenicity (cancer) study. In fact it was a long-term (chronic) toxicity study, as is made clear in the title and introduction. Criticizing the study on these grounds is equivalent to criticizing a cat for not being a dog. It is simply an irrelevance, apparently introduced in order to distract from the main findings of the study, which were toxicological in nature and included severe organ damage and hormonal disturbances.
Researchers are required to report tumors even in toxicity studies, according to the chronic toxicity protocol set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)”
The criticism leveled against the tumor statistical aspect of Séralini’s study is that the numbers of rats in the experiments (ten per sex per group) were too small to draw any conclusions about tumors. The critics claimed that given the relatively low numbers of rats and the tendency of the Sprague-Dawley strain of rat to develop tumors spontaneously, the dramatic increase in large palpable tumors in treated groups of rats was only due to random variation and not to the effects of the GM maize and Roundup herbicide. This is a valid argument and the argument could be made that in order for the tumor data yielded in this study to be seriously considered, the study would have had to have been conducted with far greater numbers of rats (65 individuals minimum) and a less cancer-prone rat used. The Sprague-Dawley (SD) rat is a standard strain for long-term chronic toxicity experiments like Séralini’s, as well as carcinogenicity experiments (but with carcinogenicity studies, large numbers must be used.) This is a non issue because the Séralini study was a long-term chronic toxicity study not a carcinogenic study.
Info on Sprague-Dawley rats:
Scientists condemned the retraction of the study
The retraction was condemned as an “act of scientific censorship” by 181 scientists on the website endsciencecensorship.org.
Séralini’s study was supported by hundreds of independent scientists from across the world in a series of petitions, letters, and articles. https://www.greenamerica.org/gmos-case-precaution/uncovering-deadly-research-suppression-and-bias-toward-biotech
“It is unacceptable to retract an entire paper on the grounds of the perceived inconclusiveness of some of its findings. The chronic toxicity findings – the organ damage and hormonal disruption – are solidly based and statistically significant, and have not been challenged by Dr. A. Wallace Hayes [he’s the editor of the journal “Food and Chemical Toxicology” who caved to Monsanto and retracted the study] Yet these findings have been removed from the record based on the perceived inconclusiveness of a part of the study’s findings – the rates of tumors and mortality.” http://earthopensource.org/gmomythsandtruths/sample-page/3-health-hazards-gm-foods/3-2-myth-seralini-2012-study-bad-science-conclusions-can-drawn/
Two public interest scientific research groups condemned the double standards whereby regulatory authorities relentlessly criticized Séralini’s study for perceived weaknesses in methodology, yet accepted at face value far weaker studies carried out by the GMO industry as proof of the products’ safety.
David Schubert, a professor with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the USA, commented on the purported rationale for the retraction, “The editors claim the reason was that ‘no definitive conclusions can be reached.’ As a scientist, I can assure you that if this were a valid reason for retracting a publication, a large fraction of the scientific literature would not exist.”
Schubert added, “The major criticisms of the Séralini manuscript were that the proper strain of rats was not used and their numbers were too small. Neither criticism is valid. The strain of rat is that required by the FDA for drug toxicology, and the toxic effects were unambiguously significant.” http://earthopensource.org/gmomythsandtruths/sample-page/3-health-hazards-gm-foods/3-2-myth-seralini-2012-study-bad-science-conclusions-can-drawn/
Dr. Michael Antoniou is the Head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King’s College London in the United Kingdom, one of the most prestigious universities in the UK. He commented:
“Few studies would survive such intensive scrutiny by fellow scientists. The republication of the study after three expert reviews is a testament to its rigour, as well as to the integrity of the researchers. If anyone still doubts the quality of this study, they should simply read the republished paper.
The science speaks for itself. If even then they refuse to accept the results, they should launch their own research study on these two toxic products that have now been in the human food and animal feed chain for many years.”
Dr Jack A Heinemann, Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Canterbury New Zealand, called the republication “an important demonstration of the resilience of the scientific community”. Dr Heinemann continued, “The first publication of these results revealed some of the viciousness that can be unleashed on researchers presenting uncomfortable findings. I applaud Environmental Sciences Europe for submitting the work to yet another round of rigorous blind peer review and then bravely standing by the process and the recommendations of its reviewers, especially after witnessing the events surrounding the first publication.
“This study has arguably prevailed through the most comprehensive and independent review process to which any scientific study on GMOs has ever been subjected. http://earthopensource.org/gmomythsandtruths/sample-page/3-health-hazards-gm-foods/3-2-myth-seralini-2012-study-bad-science-conclusions-can-drawn/
Conflicts of interest revealed
In 2017, secret Monsanto documents revealed how Monsanto strategized to attempt to discredit the study and pressure the publisher to retract the study. https://sustainablepulse.com/2017/08/01/monsanto-secret-documents-show-massive-attack-on-seralini-study/
Then, according to SpinWatch, 11 of the authors of letters to the editor slamming Séralini’s study had undisclosed financial relationships with Monsanto. In 2013, Paul Christou, the editor of Transgenic Research, coauthored an attack on Séralini and the FCT editors in his own journal, calling for a retraction of the study. Christou did not disclose his multiple conflicts of interest, including being an inventor on patents on GM crop technology, many of which Monsanto owns. http://spinwatch.org/index.php/pete-roche/item/5495-tumorous-rats-gm-contamination-and-hidden-conflicts-of-interest
Six months after it published Séralini’s study, Food & Chemical Toxicology brought in a new editor to specialize in papers on biotech. Richard E. Goodman worked for Monsanto from 1997-2004 as a regulatory scientist who helped the company get federal approval for biotech crops. https://www.greenamerica.org/gmos-case-precaution/uncovering-deadly-research-suppression-and-bias-toward-biotech
Email communications obtained by the U.S. consumer advocacy group U.S. Right to Know show Goodman communicating with Monsanto about how best to criticize the Séralini study and others. https://usrtk.org/uncategorized/keeping-secrets-from-consumers-labeling-law-a-win-for-industry-academic-collaborations/
The Séralini study has since has been republished in the “Environmental Sciences Europe” https://enveurope.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s12302-014-0014-5
Corn genetically engineered to be pesticide-tolerant or insect-resistant makes up 88 percent of the U.S. corn crop. Monsanto’s Roundup Ready varieties make up the vast majority—an estimated 70 percent of the U.S. corn crop; it is widely planted in Brazil as well.
source: Institute For Agriculture and Trade Policy https://www.iatp.org/blog/201209/new-safety-concerns-raised-by-gmo-corn-study