Russia Bans GMO Corn Following French Study, Many Scientists Skeptical
Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s federal service in control of protecting consumers’ rights and well-being has suspended the import of genetically modified corn made by Monsanto, following a report by the University of Caen in France. Gilles-Eric Seralini, the French scientist behind the two-year long study, says rats whose diet consisted of Monsanto’s genetically modified NK603 corn, or were exposed to it’s top-selling weedkiller Roundup suffered tumors and organ damage more often than rats in the control group.
Published in the journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology, the study details the animals consuming the genetically modified corn developing mammary tumors as well as sever kidney and liver damage. According to the final report, 50 percent of male and 70 percent of female rats died prematurely, compared to only 30 percent and 20 percent of rats in the control group. Many Americans as well as people in other parts of the world are calling the study and Russia’s decision, clear evidence that humans should not consume modified crops, especially Monsanto’s corn. The study prompted Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament’s commission for agriculture, Jose Bove to call for the immediate suspension of all EU cultivation and import approvals of genetically modified crops. Bove spoke out about his request saying, “This study finally shows we are right and that it is urgent to quickly review all GMO evaluation processes.”
Does the study in fact prove once and for all that GMO crops are dangerous? Some scientists aren’t agreeing with Bove just yet. Members of the European scientific community, not associated with the study have voiced their skepticism, with one French scientist accusing Seralini and his colleagues of going on a “statistical fishing trip.”
Tom Sanders, head of the nutritional sciences research division at King’s College London says Seralini’s team did not provide any data on how much the rats were given to eat, or any documentation of their growth rates.
“This strain of rat is very prone to mammary tumors particularly when food intake is not restricted. The statistical methods are unconventional…and it would appear the authors have gone on a statistical field trip.”
David Spiegelhalter of the University of Cambridge said similar concerns arose when he learned of the study’s findings, stating that the methods, statistics and reporting of all results were below standard. Spiegelhalter added that the study’s untreated control arm comprised of only 10 rats of each sex, most of which also suffered mammary tumors.
The French government, who recently decided to uphold a ban on cultivating GMO crops, has asked health and safety officials to assess the study as well as reaching out to the European Union’s food safety agency, EFSA for assistance in taking a closer look at the study and its findings. The EFSA plans to deliver their initial review of the study sometime next week.
With both sides of this study and Russia’s recent decision to ban all Monsanto crops from entering their country shrouded in controversy, the only certainty at this the friction between both sides of the GMO debate is heating up.