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Journal retracts French Monsanto GM maize study

A science journal has retracted a controversial study that claimed rats fed on a Monsanto GM maize developed cancer and died earlier.

The editor of internationally renowned journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), Dr A Wallace Hayes, has decided to retract the French study by the team of Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini.

The study found that that rats fed on a lifetime of Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 and tiny amounts of the Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide it is grown with suffered severe toxic effects, including kidney and liver damage and increased rates of tumours and mortality.

Dr Hayes has sent Prof Séralini a letter, dated 19 November, which says the paper, published 14 months ago, will be retracted if he does not agree to its withdrawal.

In the letter, he concedes that an examination of Prof Séralini's raw data showed "no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data" and nothing "incorrect" about the data.

However, Dr Hayes stated that the retraction was solely based on the "inconclusive" nature of the findings on tumours and mortality, given the relatively low number of rats used and the choice of rat strain, which Hayes said naturally has a "high incidence of tumours".

The EU's food safety watchdog, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), issued a statement last November saying the study had "serious defects in design and methodology" and it "did not meet acceptable scientific standards".

More than 700 scientists and academics signed a statement calling on Prof Séralini to release all data from his research following publication of the study.

Read more on FWI

Philip Case

One comment

  • J Gressel

    GM watch's statement is misleading - the paper was retracted for more than 'inconclusive results' - as stated in the letter to Seralini - there were breaches in animal treatment ethics (animals must be euthanized as soon as they show signs of tumors - not kept for months in pain to allow the author to take ghastly pictures), and the experimental design was such that it should not have passed peer review, as it could only lead to inconclusive results because of the low number of animals used and the choice of cancer prone strain. A similar experiment, published from a Japanese academic lab, used the right type of strain with a large number of rats per treatment in a two year study, and found no effect of the transgenic feed. In breach of publication ethics, Seralini did not cite this study. Anyway, inconclusive results are a reason for rejection when the author draws strong conclusions from inconclusive results.

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