An important and controversial piece of independent research that provides new insights into the risks of genetically modified organisms in food was republished in 2014. The events around the retraction pointed to how far agri-corporations will go to protect their very lucrative market.
In 2013, a research paper was summarily retracted without just cause by The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT). The retraction basically removed the study’s findings from the realm of accepted science. Independent scientists all over the world objected. Many believe the study was removed from the journal due to pressure by Monsanto, the owner of the plant and Roundup. Monsanto’s position was that the results of the Séralini study were inconclusive as was its own (90-day) research.
The two-year study, conducted by a team lead by French biotech critic Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen, found that groups of lab rats fed a lifetime diet of either Monsanto’s NK603 corn (NK603 is treated with Roundup herbicide) or exposed to varying levels of Roundup herbicide in drinking water died earlier and had higher rates of tumors and organ damage than controls. NK603 is a genetically modified organism, or GMO, that is bioengineered to tolerate Roundup.
The publication claimed Séralini did not experiment on enough rats to support his explosive cancer claims, and the Sprague Dawley lab rats used in the study are prone to developing tumors if allowed to live long enough. Independent scientists, however, say the Sprague Dawley breed is an industry standard for toxicity research, and while the Séralini study is not perfect, there is no legitimate reason to remove it from scientific debate.
After the research was yanked from FCT, the study underwent two additional peer reviews, both of which reinforced the validity and results. Consequently, the study has again been published, this time in Environmental Sciences Europe. The republished version contains extra material addressing criticisms of the original publication. The raw data underlying the study’s findings are also published – unlike the raw data for the industry studies that underlie regulatory approvals of Roundup, which are kept secret.
Sometimes the truth does prevail.