Séralini’s rigorously peer-reviewed study, which was published in the prestigious Food and Chemical Toxicology journal in 2012, 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 secret internal Monsanto documents released in 2017 by legal firms in the U.S. it was made clear how Monsanto successfully pressured Wallace Hayes, Editor of the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal, to retract the famous Séralini study. After the study was retracted, former Monsanto scientist Richard E. Goodman was appointed to the journal’s editorial board.
The secret Monsanto documents revealed how Monsanto strategized to attempt to discredit the study and pressure the publisher to retract the study. Séralini’s study has since undergone several additional peer reviews- all said the same thing, the science is good and the study has been republished. https://sustainablepulse.com/2017/08/01/monsanto-secret-documents-show-massive-attack-on-seralini-study/#.XAqooS2ZPeQ
“Séralini’s study was published by the 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.
The Smear Campaign
“Within hours of the study’s release, it came under sustained attack from pro-GMO lobbyists and scientists. Leading the campaign to discredit the study was the UK’s Science Media Centre, an organization that defends and promotes GMO technology and has taken funding from GMO companies like Monsanto and Syngenta.”
Séralini’s critics launched a campaign to get the journal that had published the study to retract it and in November 2013, the journal’s editor, Wallace Hayes, was successfully pressured by Monsanto to retract the study and a former Monsanto scientist, Richard E. Goodman, was appointed to the editorial board.
The GMO lobby then lied and said the study 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. The study’s findings were toxicological in nature and included severe organ damage and hormonal disturbances.
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. It is true that a larger number of rats are required in carcinogenic studies. However, this is a bad faith argument and does not even apply to Sèralini’s study because IT WAS NOT A CARCINOGENIC STUDY. It was a toxicological study. Sèralini was ethically required to report there was a higher incidence of tumors in the rats– 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).
Again, this was a bad faith argument on the part of the GMO lobby because Séralini’s study was a long-term chronic toxicity study– not a carcinogenic study. Sèralini’s rats (both the breed and the amount used) were the industry standard for the type of toxicological study he conducted. Nevertheless, the GMO industry also tried to criticize the type of rats Sèralini used, which was unfounded and ridiculous. The Sprague-Dawley (SD) rat used in Sèralini’s study is a standard strain for long-term chronic toxicity experiments like Séralini’s. The Sprague-Dawley rat is also used in carcinogenicity studies, albeit in greater amounts.
These bad faith arguments were used by the GMO industry in an attempt to distract the public from Sèralini’s findings: which were that the rats sustained serious injuries that were toxicological in nature and included severe organ damage and hormonal disturbances.
Unfortunately, at that time the smear campaign was successful and the Sèralini study was dismissed by regulatory agencies, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). It should also be noted that these were the same agencies that had previously approved other GMO foods as safe. EFSA had also previously bizarrely argued that 90-day feeding trials were sufficient to see even chronic (long-term) toxic effects, and even added that even these short tests were not always necessary!
Info on Sprague-Dawley rats:
Scientists condemned the retraction of the study
The retraction was condemned as an “act of scientific censorship” by scientists around the world and 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
Here is a list of just some of the respected scientists at major academic/research institutions around the world who spoke out in support of Séralini’s study : https://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/seralini-and-science-nk603-rat-study-roundup/
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.
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/
Séralini’s critics launched a campaign to get the journal that had published the study to retract it and in November 2013, the journal’s editor, Wallace Hayes, was successfully pressured by Monsanto to retract the study and a former Monsanto scientist, Richard E. Goodman, was appointed to the editorial board. Richard E. Goodman worked for Monsanto from 1997-2004 as a regulatory scientist who helped the company get federal approval for biotech crops.
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/
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
The Study Today
The Séralini study has since has been republished in the “Environmental Sciences Europe” https://enveurope.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s12302-014-0014-5
Note: 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