Skip to comments.Ratted out: Scientific journal bows to Monsanto over anti-GMO study
Posted on 12/14/2013 7:47:48 AM PST by Renfield
Rigid criteria exist for a serious scientific journal to accept a peer-reviewed paper and to publish it. As well there exist strict criteria by which such an article can be withdrawn after publication.
The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology has apparently decided to violate those procedures, announcing it is retracting a long-term study on the toxic effects of Monsanto Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)GMO Maize it published a year ago.
The bizarre reports come only six months after Elsevier created a special new position, Associate Editor for Biotechnology (i.e. GMO), and filled it with a former Monsanto employee who worked for the giant Monsanto front-organization, the International Life Sciences Institute, which develops industry-friendly risk assessment methods for GM foods and chemical food contaminants and inserts them into government regulations. Sound like something wrong with this picture?
In its November, 2012 issue, The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology published a paper titled Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize by Gilles-Eric Séralini and his team of researchers at Frances Caen University. It was a highly important study as it was the first and, astonishingly, still the only long-term study under controlled conditions of possible effects of a diet of GMO Maize treated with Monsanto Roundup herbicide.
Seralini submitted his study results to the respected journal following a rigorous four-month review by scientific peers regarding methodology and such. Seralinis group tested more than 200 rats of a diet of GMO corn over a period of a full two years at a cost of 3 million euro. The study was done in absolute secrecy to avoid industry pressure.
The publication created an atomic blast rocking the entire edifice of the GMO industry. Pictures of test rats with grotesque cancer tumors appeared in newspapers around the world.
Seralinis group studied the effect of a Monsanto GMO maize diet on the rats for much longer than Monsanto had done in their study submitted to the EU European Food Safety Authority for approval. The group conducted its study for the full two-year average lifetime instead of just 90 days in the Monsanto study. The long-term span proved critical. The first tumors only appeared four to seven months into the study. In the industry's earlier 90-day study on the same GMO maize Monsanto NK603, signs of toxicity were seen, but were dismissed as not biologically meaningful by industry and EFSA alike.
It seems they were indeed very biologically meaningful.
The later study was also done with the highest number of rats ever measured in a standard GMO diet study. They tested also for the first time three doses (rather than two in the usual 90 day long protocols) of the Roundup-tolerant NK603 GMO maize alone, the GMO maize treated with Roundup, and Roundup alone at very low environmentally relevant doses starting below the range of levels permitted by regulatory authorities in drinking water and in GM feed.
Their findings were more than alarming.
Mammary tumors that developed in rats fed GMO corn and/or low levels of Roundup. From the paper "Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modiﬁed maize," published in Food and Chemical Toxicology
The Seralini study concluded, In females, all treated groups died two to three times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in three male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls; the pituitary was the second-most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.55.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.32.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls .
Monsanto and the related GMO industry immediately went on a war footing to control the potentially fatal damage from the Seralini study. Suddenly, with worldwide attention to the new Seralini results, the EU Commission and its EFSA was under fire as never in their history. How they reacted was worthy of a bad copy of an Agatha Christie murder novel. They piously announced that they had passed the Seralini study on to their EFSA scientific panel for evaluation.
The Brussels EU scientific food regulatory organization, EFSA, was under the gun from the damning results of the long-term Seralini study. EFSA had recommended approval of Monsantos NK603 Roundup-tolerant maize in 2009 without first conducting any independent testing. It admitted it had relied oninformation supplied by the applicant (Monsanto). EFSA also admitted that the Monsanto tests on rats were for only 90 days. Seralinis group noted that the massive toxic effects and deaths of GMO-fed rats took place well after 90 days, one reason longer-term studied were obviously warranted.
EFSA concluded at the time of its initial Monsanto NK603 approval in 2009 that, data provided [by Monsanto - author] are sufficient and do not raise a safety concern. The Brussels body added, The EFSA GMO Panel is of the opinion that maize NK603 is as safe as conventional maize. Maize NK603 and derived products are unlikely to have any adverse effect on human and animal health in the context of the intended uses. Oops!
Now comes this guy Seralini and puts EFSA and the entire regulatory control process for GMO under grave doubt.
The EU Commission was on record stating that no independent non-GMO industry long-term studies were needed on animals to test their safety. The EU guidelines for testing stated, Toxicological assessments on test animals are not explicitly required for the approval of a new food in the EU or the US. Independent experts have decided that in some cases, chemical analyses of the foods makeup are enough to indicate that the new GMO is substantially equivalent to its traditional counterpart In recent years, biotech companies have tested their transgenic products (maize, soy, tomato) before introducing them to the market on several different animals over the course of up to 90 days. Negative effects have not yet been observed.
The up to 90 days is the key statement. Seralinis study only observed serious tumors and other effects after 120 days in their two-year study.
On November 28, 2012, only a few weeks after the study was published, EFSA in Brussels issued a press release with the following conclusion: Serious defects in the design and methodology of a paper by Séralini et al mean it does not meet acceptable scientific standards and there is no need to re-examine [sic!] previous safety evaluations of genetically modified maize NK603. Per Bergman, who led EFSAs work, said EFSAs analysis has shown that deficiencies in the Séralini et al. paper mean it is of insufficient scientific quality for risk assessment. We believe the completion of this evaluation process has brought clarity to the issue.
EFSA argued that Seralini had used the wrong kind of rats, not enough rats and that the statistical analysis was inadequate. By these standards, all toxicity studies on glyphosate and GMOs should be retracted because they used the same type and approximate number of rats as those in the Séralini study.
At the very minimum, the precautionary principle in instances involving even the potential for grave damage to the human population would mandate that the EU Commission and its EFSA should order immediate further serious, independent long-term studies to prove or disprove the results of the Seralini tests. Refusal to re-examine its earlier decision to approve Monsanto GMO maize, no matter what flaws might or might not have been in the Seralini study, suggested EFSA was trying to cover for the GMO agrichemical lobby at the very least.
Many members of the EFSA GMO review panel had documented ties to Monsanto and the GMO industry, a conflict of interest to put it mildly. Corporate Europe Observer, an independent EU corporate watchdog group noted about the EFSA response, EFSA failed to properly and transparently appoint a panel of scientists beyond any suspicion of conflicts of interest; and it failed to appreciate that meeting with Europe's largest biotech industry lobby group to discuss GMO risk assessment guidelines in the very middle of a EU review undermines its credibility.
While the official EFSA statement seemed to take pressure off Monsanto, it clearly was not enough so long as the Elsevier journal study could circulate and be cited around the world.
Then, out of the blue, in May 2013, six months after the Seralini study release, Elsevier announced that it had created a new position, Associate Editor for Biotechnology. The person they hired to fill it was Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto employee who in addition was with the Monsanto pro-GMO lobby organization, the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) which develops industry-friendly risk assessment methods for GM foods and chemical food contaminants and inserts them into government regulations.
As one critical scientific website posed the obvious ethical sham of hiring Monsanto people to control GMO publications, Does Monsanto now effectively decide which papers on biotechnology are published in FCT? And is this part of an attempt by Monsanto and the life science industry to seize control of science?
Then on November 24, 2013, six months after Goodman took control of GMO issues at the Journal, Dr. A. Wallace Hayes, the editor of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology reportedly decided to retract the study by the team of Professor Séralini.
The reasons for the extraordinary retraction a full year after publishing are in violation of the guidelines for retractions in scientific publishing set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), of which FCT is a member. According to the guidelines, the only grounds for a journal to retract a paper are:
Clear evidence that the findings are unreliable due to misconduct (e.g. data fabrication) or honest error;
Plagiarism or redundant publication;
Séralinis paper meets none of these criteria and Hayes admits as much. In his letter informing the professor of his decision, Hayes concedes that examination of Séralinis raw data showed no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.
As Claire Robinson of GM Watch points out, "inconclusiveness of findings is not a valid ground for retraction. Numerous published scientific papers contain inconclusive findings, which are often mixed in with findings that can be presented with more certainty. It is for future researchers to build on the findings and refine scientific understanding of any uncertainties.
Elsevier, the publisher of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, is one of the giants in worldwide scientific publications. And they are apparently not so rigorous when it comes to making money over scientific principle.
In 2009, Elsevier invented an entire medical journal, complete with editorial board, in order to publish papers promoting the products of the pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck. Merck provided the papers, Elsevier published them, and doctors read them, unaware that the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine was simply a PR vehicle for the drug giant Merck.
A picture released by the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) shows a combination image of three pictures featuring rats with tumors after they were fed a diet of genetically modified (GMO) maize produced by US chemical giant Monsanto. CRIIGEN researchers examined a two-year study, that shows the long-term toxicity of GMOs and chemical weed killer "Round-up", establishing "alarming" results according to professor Gilles-Eric Seralini. (AFP Photo / Griigen)
Russia Today is Putin’s modern version of Pravda. Clearly Russia must have some business interest (grain sales competition probably). Anyone can print pictures of mice given an OD any substance. I just don’t trust the source, and the lefties in this country that agree with it.
“Mammary tumors that developed in rats fed GMO corn and/or low levels of Roundup. From the paper “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modiï¬ed maize,” published in Food and Chemical Toxicology”
What a wildly stupid article!
First off, you can’t study the effects of anything if you mix two together in one study, and by feeding the rats herbicide with the corn the entire study is junk BS.
The rats would get just as many tumors and die had they dipped the corn in any number of chemicals or natural compounds not intended for consumption.
Sprague-Dawley rats have a lifespan of about two years and have a high tendency to get cancer over their lifespan (one study found that over eighty percent of males and over seventy percent of females got cancer under normal conditions). The Séralini experiment lasted the normal lifespan of these rats, and the longer the experiment goes, the more statistical “noise” there is - the more rats get cancer naturally, regardless of what you do to them.
So for the experiment to have adequate statistical power, all the groups - control groups and test groups - would have to include at least 65 rats per group in order to sort out any experimentally caused cancers from cancers that would occur anyway - but the Séralini study had only ten per group
since Sprague-Dawley rats are susceptible to mammary tumors when food intake is not restricted, data should have been provided about how much food the rats were fed (as well as the presence of fungus in the feed, another confounder). Sanders also wrote of this study, “The statistical methods are unconventional ... and it would appear the authors have gone on a statistical fishing trip
Genetic modification of plants has been used for a long time. I guess people have to have a monster under the bed and a conspiracy around every corner. This time it’s GMO.
Debunked Study No Problem for Anti-GMO Activists
We have seen what happened when people with an agenda scared people into not vaccinating their children. This kind of hysteria causes real harm.
In the 50's plants were irradiated in order to induce beneficial mutations: how many vegans today are munching down on descendants of those plants?
I read once that a carrot has thousands of various organic compounds, almost none of which have ever been tested for long-term toxicity. This is true of almost everything we eat-- to assume they are all 100% safe is simple to believe (falsely) in some form of natural grace that has nothing to do with science.
“In the 50’s plants were irradiated in order to induce beneficial mutations: how many vegans today are munching down on descendants of those plants?”
Wow! That explains the 50-foot hippie I saw stomping on a McDonald’s the other day! Quick, somebody call the National Guard or Peter Graves!
These pictures remind me of another fatal flaw in this so-called study. The rats here are suffering. While rodents may be exempt from many of the research animal ethics laws, no animal use committee would condone letting these animals live in pain while their tumors reach astounding sizes. Researchers using animals in studies must take animal ethics courses, which include such material as how to recognize when the animal’s quality of life has deteriorated to the point where euthanasia is required. These rats look like they reached that point long before these pictures were taken.
Given that this “study” bypassed ethical treatment of animals, I would have to wonder how valid the rest of their methodology is... or I *would* wonder if I did not already know the methodological flaws.
Since when are Freepers supposed to believe anything from “Russia Today”? It’s basically nothing more than an anti-American propaganda outlet.
You misread the article.
They had four groups of rats: regular food, GMO food only, GMO + Roundup, Roundup only.
A deeply flawed study that deserved to be pulled.
I just received my Baker Creek catalogue. Gardening ping worthy?
Ping list on Friday only. I’ll try to get it posted then. However, feel free to go ahead and post it on the Weekly link that was started yesterday. Thanks for the heads up.
Heil Monsanto- monopoly money at work. Watch them become too big to fail. When does “lobbying” equal bribery, when does bribery equal extortion?
Even as the company is pushing its G.M. agenda, Monsanto is buying up conventional-seed companies. In 2005, Monsanto paid $1.4 billion for Seminis, which controlled 40 percent of the U.S. market for lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetable and fruit seeds. Two weeks later it announced the acquisition of the countrys third-largest cottonseed company, Emergent Genetics, for $300 million. Its estimated that Monsanto seeds now account for 90 percent of the U.S. production of soybeans, which are used in food products beyond counting. Monsantos acquisitions have fueled explosive growth, transforming the St. Louisbased corporation into the largest seed company in the world.
Even after Pilot Grove turned over thousands more pages of sales records going back five years, and covering virtually every one of its farmer customers, Monsanto wanted morethe right to inspect the co-ops hard drives. When the co-op offered to provide an electronic version of any record, Monsanto demanded hands-on access to Pilot Groves in-house computers.
Monsanto next petitioned to make potential damages punitivetripling the amount that Pilot Grove might have to pay if found guilty. After a judge denied that request, Monsanto expanded the scope of the pre-trial investigation by seeking to quadruple the number of depositions. Monsanto is doing its best to make this case so expensive to defend that the Co-op will have no choice but to relent, Pilot Groves lawyer said in a court filing.
With Pilot Grove still holding out for a trial, Monsanto now subpoenaed the records of more than 100 of the co-ops customers. In a You are Commanded notice, the farmers were ordered to gather up five years of invoices, receipts, and all other papers relating to their soybean and herbicide purchases, and to have the documents delivered to a law office in St. Louis. Monsanto gave them two weeks to comply.
In 1981 several former Nitro employees filed lawsuits in federal court, charging that Monsanto had knowingly exposed them to chemicals that caused long-term health problems, including cancer and heart disease. They alleged that Monsanto knew that many chemicals used at Nitro were potentially harmful, but had kept that information from them. On the eve of a trial, in 1988, Monsanto agreed to settle most of the cases by making a single lump payment of $1.5 million. Monsanto also agreed to drop its claim to collect $305,000 in court costs from six retired Monsanto workers who had unsuccessfully charged in another lawsuit that Monsanto had recklessly exposed them to dioxin. Monsanto had attached liens to the retirees homes to guarantee collection of the debt.
Monsanto stopped producing dioxin in Nitro in 1969, but the toxic chemical can still be found well beyond the Nitro plant site. Repeated studies have found elevated levels of dioxin in nearby rivers, streams, and fish. Residents have sued to seek damages from Monsanto and Solutia. Earlier this year, a West Virginia judge merged those lawsuits into a class-action suit
Lets look just at the example of PCBs.
The evidence that Monsanto refused to face questions about their toxicity is quite clear. In 1956 the company tried to sell the navy a hydraulic fluid for its submarines called Pydraul 150, which contained PCBs. Monsanto supplied the navy with test results for the product. But the navy decided to run its own tests. Afterward, navy officials informed Monsanto that they wouldnt be buying the product. Applications of Pydraul 150 caused death in all of the rabbits tested and indicated definite liver damage, navy officials told Monsanto, according to an internal Monsanto memo divulged in the course of a court proceeding. No matter how we discussed the situation, complained Monsantos medical director, R. Emmet Kelly, it was impossible to change their thinking that Pydraul 150 is just too toxic for use in submarines.
Ten years later, a biologist conducting studies for Monsanto in streams near the Anniston plant got quick results when he submerged his test fish. As he reported to Monsanto, according to The Washington Post, All 25 fish lost equilibrium and turned on their sides in 10 seconds and all were dead in 3½ minutes.
However F.D.A. approval came about, Monsanto has long been wired into Washington. Michael R. Taylor was a staff attorney and executive assistant to the F.D.A. commissioner before joining a law firm in Washington in 1981, where he worked to secure F.D.A. approval of Monsantos artificial growth hormone before returning to the F.D.A. as deputy commissioner in 1991. Dr. Michael A. Friedman, formerly the F.D.A.s deputy commissioner for operations, joined Monsanto in 1999 as a senior vice president. Linda J. Fisher was an assistant administrator at the E.P.A. when she left the agency in 1993. She became a vice president of Monsanto, from 1995 to 2000, only to return to the E.P.A. as deputy administrator the next year. William D. Ruckelshaus, former E.P.A. administrator, and Mickey Kantor, former U.S. trade representative, each served on Monsantos board after leaving government. Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas was an attorney in Monsantos corporate-law department in the 1970s. He wrote the Supreme Court opinion in a crucial G.M.-seed patent-rights case in 2001 that benefited Monsanto and all G.M.-seed companies.
Blocked at the federal level, Monsanto is pushing for action by the states. In the fall of 2007, Pennsylvanias agriculture secretary, Dennis Wolff, issued an edict prohibiting dairies from stamping milk containers with labels stating their products were made without the use of the artificial hormone. Wolff said such a label implies that competitors milk is not safe, and noted that non-supplemented milk comes at an unjustified higher price, arguments that Monsanto has frequently made. The ban was to take effect February 1, 2008.
Wolffs action created a firestorm in Pennsylvania (and beyond) from angry consumers. So intense was the outpouring of e-mails, letters, and calls that Pennsylvania governor Edward Rendell stepped in and reversed his agriculture secretary, saying, The public has a right to complete information about how the milk they buy is produced.