Scientists react to republished Séralini GMO maize rat study

June 24, 2014 |
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Scientists around the world react as a controversial animal study on genetically modified (GM) corn and glyphosate-based herbicide that had been published and then retracted has been republished in expanded form in another academic journal.

The study, “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize” by a group of French scientists led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, claims that a Monsanto herbicide-tolerant GM corn and RoundUp, Monsanto’s brand name for the herbicide, caused severe diseases and tumor growths in rats. It was republished today in the open-access journal Environmental Sciences Europe (SpringerOpen).

The study was originally published in Food and Chemical Toxicology (Elsevier) in September 2012. It met strong criticism from the scientific community almost immediately, with concerns ranging from the validity of the findings to the proper use of animals in the study. In November 2013, Food and Chemical Toxicology retracted the study.

In the previous publication, Séralini and colleagues faced immense pressure from the scientific community to release the raw data collected for the study. They did not do so then, but in the study’s current republication and expanded revision, the raw data has been made available.

Here, the GLP posts a collection of the responses from scientists worldwide to the study and raw data release. We will post more reactions—critical and in support of the findings–as they become available.

David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor of the public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge, said:

The article still does not appear to have had proper statistical refereeing, and the methods and reporting are obscure. The claimed effects show no dose-response, and so the conclusions rest entirely on a comparison with ten control rats of each sex. This is inadequate.

The study needs replicating by a truly independent laboratory using appropriate sample sizes. I agree with the authors that this whole area would benefit from greater transparency of data and improved experimental and statistical methods.

Joe N. Perry, quantitative ecologist and visiting professor of biometry at the University of Greenwich, said:

This paper appears to be based on the same data as Séralini’s previous 2012 paper, with no real new information and only minor rephrasing and a few new references. Therefore, I doubt whether my conclusions would differ from those of the vast majority of independent members of the scientific community, who concluded in 2012 that there was insufficient evidence to justify the claims of CRIIGEN and Giles-Eric Séralini. However, I do welcome Séralini’s promise to publish his raw data and my hope is that all organisations involved in GM risk assessment will, wherever possible in the future, publish in full their raw data in the spirit of full transparency and openness.

Marcel Kuntz, biologist, director of research at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, France) and professor at University of Grenoble-Alpes, said:

The authors reach essentially the same conclusions that were already refuted and they don’t take into account the fundamental criticisms addressed to them.

Looking specifically at the tumors:  The breed of rats used is subject to spontaneous tumor development. To identify a statistically reliable increase in tumors in a group of rats requires a large number of individuals. This re-publication is still deficient on this point.

These tumors were the most spectacular element of the media operation conducted by the authors. It should be noted that they showed photographs of three rats: a rat that used the GMO NK603, another that drank Roundup and a third absorbed both. Unlike the most basic scientific approach, no control rats (which didn’t eat GMO or drink herbicide) were shown. These control rats are still not shown in the re-publication.

Disclosure statement for Marcel Kuntz:

My only income comes from my employers mentioned above (and marginally the copyright of my books). I have no current contract with a private company, or as an individual, nor to my laboratory. My current scientific work is basic research, unrelated to the marketing of a variety of plant (GM or not). I don’t hold any patents, nor collect, nor received income as an inventor of a patent held by others. I do not identify any change in this situation in the foreseeable future.

Tom Sanders, professor of nutrition and dietetics at the King’s College London School of Medicine, said:

Republishing data that was faulty in the first place in study design and analysis does not provide redemption. Furthermore, it is now possible to publish almost anything in Open Access journals!

Séralini did not follow conventional methods for assessing animal toxicity and made most of the measurements at the end of life. When a very large number of measurements are made, statistically significant differences will occur play of chance.

The figures of an animal with a large tumour serve no scientific purpose. There are numerous omissions of probabilities which could lead the less critical reader to infer differences that are not statistically significant.

Bruce Chassy, professor emeritus of food safety and nutritional sciences from the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, said:

The original Séralini paper was rejected for many reasons. Perhaps the most important of these was that the design of the study and the described methods for data collection were fatally flawed in a number of ways. No amount of rewriting or excuses for faults can make the data whole again. When the data are faulty, the experiment must be repeated with proper design and methods.

Food and Chemical Toxicology and Elsevier have acted poorly throughout this affair. It is difficult for experts to understand why Food and Chemical Toxicology published the paper since it is exceedingly challenging to find an expert peer-reviewer who cannot find numerous flaws in the paper. The journal then consumed more than a year to retract the paper.

Among the several reasons for retraction that Food and Chemical Toxicology failed to cite was the unethical use of animals in experiments which the Committee on Publication Ethics states is a reason for retraction.

Séralini now states that the research was not a cancer study. If that is true, then there was no reason not to euthanize animals when tumors were first detectable. There was nothing to gain or learn. This is unethical treatment of animals.

Christopher Preston, lecturer in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide said:

The sample sizes are too small, and there are too many treatments and not enough controls. The wrong breed of rat is used. As it is prone to high numbers of tumours, there is going to be a lot of noise and not enough statistical power. There is no dose response, i.e. they were just measuring noise. There are ethical issues with the treatment of the rats.

My guess at why Séralini has pulled out of the (EU) repeat is because other scientists want to do the trial correctly. Séralini knows he can find something to spin if it is done his way because the likelihood of one of the 9 treatments being different to the control is quite high.

Wayne Parrot, professor of crop science at the University of Georgia Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics, and Department of Crop & Soil Sciences, said:

Séralini to this day fails to say what about modification would cause cancer. It is as if a magical carcinogenic aura was imposed on the GMO. Looking at rat studies with a real carcinogen (Aristolochia herbs), the onset of tumors in a dose-dependent matter is rapid, and reaches 100% by 16 weeks. Séralini is not even in the ballpark.

Andrew Bartholomaeus, adjunct professor of toxicology and pharmacy at the School of Pharmacy, University of Canberra, and Therapeutic Research Unit, School of Medicine, University of Queensland said:

This paper is largely a re-publication of the original article published and subsequently retracted by Food & Chemical Toxicology due to concerns around the scientific quality of the study and its interpretation, with some amendments that qualitatively address some of the criticisms of the original.

The science of the original publication was carefully assessed by food regulatory agencies, including the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and Food Standards Australia NZ (FSANZ). EFSA concluded that the design analysis and reporting is of insufficient scientific quality to be relevant in the safety assessment process.

The damming criticisms of the European Society of Toxicologic Pathology (ESTP), the peak body for experts in the diagnosis and interpretation of animal pathology findings, remain most relevant. ESTP concluded that the interpretation of findings included such basic errors that they would “be considered as a disqualifying mistake at an examination for pathologists” and stated they were “shocked by the whole body photographs of animals bearing very large tumors… which should have been euthanized….much earlier…….as the authors only illustrate that Sprague Dawley rats develop mammary tumors..(which are) common background lesions” in this strain of animal.

From a toxicological or food safety perspective the conclusions ANZ and international food regulatory agencies and peak scientific bodies suggest that the paper has insufficient scientific merit even to be considered controversial or provocative and will likely to be essentially irrelevant to the mainstream scientific community. None of the changes alter these fundamental criticisms.

In short the paper is likely to raise little more than a yawn amongst the mainstream toxicology and food regulatory communities. As an exercise in media management however the republication and associated commentary and media management such as the embargoes and limited access, reflects a masterful flair for publicity generation.

Unfortunately such studies, and the associated publicity, may lead to more serious public health consequences than those purported to be found in the studies themselves, as illustrated by the vandalism of field trials of Golden Rice in the Philippines, a crop being developed to alleviate the chronic disease and premature death of some of the worlds most desperate and disadvantaged children, suffering chronic vitamin A deficiency.

Declaration of interests for Andrew Bartholomaeus:

I have no direct financial interest in commercial biotechnology activities, either currently or at any time in the past. Before retiring I was the Branch head for the Risk assessment Branch of FSANZ, and prior to that the chief toxicologist for the prescription medicines branch of the TGA. I currently consult, primarily to Government, on science policy and practice in regulation and perform human health risk assessments for various areas of government.  I have also collaborated with ILSI (free of charge) to deliver workshops on biotechnology risk assessment for regulators around the world and to publish papers on this topic.

Ian Musgrave, senior lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine, School of Medicine Sciences, within the Discipline of Pharmacology at the University of Adelaide, said:

A French research study that claimed that rats fed a diet which contained a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize died more frequently and earlier over the two year study than control groups was retracted last year after widespread criticism of its methodology and interpretation. It has now been republished. However, the major flaws in this study still remain.

1)      The wrong controls were used – there should have been a non-GMO control for each level of GMO corn (i.e. there should have been an 11 per cent control for the 11 per cent GMO corn, a 22 per cent control for the 22 per cent GMO corn and 33 per cent standard corn for the 33 per cent GMO corn. As energy content, carbohydrate load and other components of the corn may affect tumour formation, this is a fundamental flaw which invalidates any conclusions.

2)      There is no dose response. For a substance to be an attributable cause of cancer, being exposed to more of the substance should result in more cases of cancer this just does not happen in this study.

3)      Furthermore, there is no consistent response to any of the measured outcomes that would even hint at a real adverse effect. The GMO corn had no effect on the number of tumours – Roundup even decreased the number of tumours in male rats, as did the combination of roundup and GMO corn in male rats (there was no consistent effect in female rats). High levels of GMO corn and high levels of roundup both reduced spontaneous mortality and pushed back the onset of death in male rats.

This shows that all we are seeing in these results is due to random variation in a poorly controlled experiment. It does not show that GMO corn, or roundup, even at concentrations that no human would ever be exposed to through diet, have no effect on cancer or mortality.

Thomas Lumley, professor from the Department of Statistics, University of Auckland, said:

I do not think the republication of the Séralini paper and the responses to critics answer any of the statistical concerns I had with the original paper. The main point of the response over sample size is to argue that some standard toxicological studies also use small sample sizes, which may be true but would not be relevant.

 Although I do not find it convincing, I am pleased that the study is being republished. While I think it would have been reasonable to reject the paper initially, I was uncomfortable with a retraction that was not based on any new information or any accusation of wrongdoing, and said so at the time.

Since the responses to critics claim that much of the opposition is a smear campaign by people funded by Monsanto and the GM crop industry, I think it is appropriate to point out that I have never received funding from Monsanto or any company involved in GM crop technology.

Robert Wager, technician and faculty member in the Biology Department at Vancouver Island University, said:

There are two main issues with the data I think need explanation by Séralini. First, the basic rule of toxicology is the dose makes the poison. Everything can be toxic if the dose is high enough. Therefore all proper toxicology studies show dose response curves (the higher the dose, the greater the effect). None of the data in the Séralini paper show dose response curves.

The second point and probably more important point is the use of inappropriate strain of rats. Sprague-Dawley is a strain of rat that spontaneously generates tumors. For this reason they are extensively used in cancer research. One of the main criticisms of the original 2012 paper was the omission of the control rat data and photos. The re-release again does not show the control rats.

It is very clear that review of the science literature show the conclusions of Séralini et al. are not supported by the vast majority of publications in this area.

Disclosure statement for Robert Wager

I have no financial connection with any biotech company. I have never received any personal pay from any biotech company, nor does my institute receive/administer and grants from biotech companies. I have serious difference of opinion on GMO’s with Séralini et al. but have no connection to him or his institute. I am an academic who hates the impact pseudo-science is having on public policy and that is my only motivation.

Alan McHughen, plant biotechnologist and geneticist at the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of California, Riverside, said:

The number of rats used was too small to detect a meaningful difference in treatments. In this ‘new’ study, the number of rats remains the same, too small to yield meaningful results. To illustrate for those not familiar, it’s as if Séralini tossed a coin two times, and the coin came up ‘heads’ both times. With this result, Séralini is trying to convince us that he has a magic coin that only comes up ‘heads’.

The strain of rats used (Sprague-Dawley) was inappropriate for this type of two-year long study, as these rats have a natural predisposition to form tumors, regardless of the treatment. Séralini has not and can not justify this fatal error in experimental design

Séralini now asserts that he follows all European ethical guidelines for animal care. But he still shows rats with massive tumors, and the European ethical standards requires rats be euthanized when tumors reach 4 mm diameter. Clearly the rats in the photos have tumors larger than 4 mm, about the size of a small pea.

There’s no dose response. In toxicity or carcinogenicity studies, increasing the dose of an actual toxin or carcinogen leads to greater effect. But Séralini’s data do not show such dose effects, and Séralini still does not properly explain why.

In short, the ‘new’ paper will have the same impact as the original, retracted paper, because the original data were useless, and there is no new data. The methodology was faulty then, and, as there is no new methodology, it remains faulty now.

When the results of an experiment fail to reflect what we observe in the real world, the scientist knows the experimental design or interpretation must be wrong and tries to correct it. But Séralini insists his experiments and interpretations are fine; it’s reality that’s wrong.

Disclosure statement for Alan McHughen:

I am happy to advise that I am a public sector academic scientist serving the public interest, and as such, my research program is funded entirely from public sources; I do not accept private funds. As a result, I have no research connection to either Mr Séralini (or his coauthors), or CRIIGEN, or Monsanto.

Cami Ryan, professional affiliate with the Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics at the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan, said:

First, and most importantly, this is the same poorly designed scientific study that has been widely discredited by health and food safety agencies all over the world when it was published in 2012 (and subsequently retracted in 2013) by Food and Chemical Toxicology. Sample sizes and controls are still a problem (there are well-articulated OECD guidelines on this) and there are several holes in terms of interpretation of data.

If Séralini’s goal here was the pursuit of good, quality science, he would have accepted the original retraction, paid mind to the broader criticisms that he received from subject-matter scientific experts and organizations and executed a new study (using an appropriate methodology) before attempting to publish again. Quality science is published in quality journals. If Séralini was really onto something here, it most certainly would have been taken up by more reputable academic journals such as Nature or Science.

Disclosure statement from Cami Ryan:

My current work is funded through various entities including not-for-profit grower groups and organizations as well as Genome Canada’s Genome Prairie/GELS program. No conflict.

Peter Dearden, associate professor and director of Genetics Otago, Laboratory for Evolution and Development at the University of Otago, said:

The republication of the Séralini study raises a number of important issues to do with the scientific process. It must be noted that the paper being published is identical to the first one, which was initially attacked on methodological bases.

The paper is being republished because the authors feel it was unfairly retracted from Food and Chemical Toxicology. I think that the problem here is the controversial nature of the original paper.

This was a publication that gave some interesting results, but that needed to be replicated with larger numbers of rats in the experiment and, perhaps, a more statistically robust analysis. The paper was, in my mind, inconclusive, but pointed a direction in which future research could go.

After much public discussion the paper was withdrawn by the journal against the wishes of the authors. This is unusual. Even more unusual is the notice of retraction that states that the study was inconclusive, but there was no flaw or fraud in the original paper. Inconclusive data is no reason to retract a peer-reviewed and published paper.

The republication of this paper, and the rebuttals presented, have not changed my opinion. I am not convinced that the original paper indicates any danger of genetically modified food. I do think, however, that this research needs to be continued.

I am also convinced that retracting the original paper in this unusual way has not served the scientific process well. All good science is a debate, and one that should be held publically in published journals. Only through open publication, replication and exchange of scientific data can we use science effectively.

Controversial studies should not be buried because of public argument. They should be investigated, repeated, and new data published to either disprove or support the original findings. Only then do we get a clear and robust argument.

Jack Heinemann, professor of molecular biology and genetics at the University of Canterbury New Zealand, said:

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.

The work provides important new knowledge that must be taken into account by the community that evaluates and reports upon the risks of genetically modified organisms, indeed upon all sources of pesticide in our food and feed chains. In time these findings must be verified by repetition or challenged by superior experimentation. In my view, nothing constructive for risk assessment or promotion of GM biotechnology has been achieved by attempting to expunge these data from the public record.

Michael Antoniou, head of nuclear biology group at King’s College London, said:

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.

Responses collected through the Science Media Centre and Sustainable Pulse.

  • Pdiff

    The real questions are:
    Why would Springer let one of it’s journals publish a retracted article? Is it their standard practice to pick up work discarded by others?

    What rationale did the reviewers/editor have for ignoring the widespread criticisms of the original paper? None of these criticisms were addressed in the republished article. Was the work really reviewed?

    Where is the real raw data? The tumor data provided is summarized to the group (treatment) level only with no information on individual rats or their respective cage assignments. This information is critical to proper analysis of the results.

    • Claire Lutyens

      The rats were 2 to a cage. If you read the paper you might have discovered this. There is also a link to the raw data. So if you read the paper you might actually see that a valuable point is raised. GE corn sprayed with RoundUp, if eaten regularly causes even at the lowest doses long term deleterious health effects. It is the first and only paper to study this corn event over the lifetime of any organism, so to disprove these findings a replicable study needs to be conducted.Where are the diagnostic tools for humans to see if consumption of GE foods cause harm? There are none so until humans are able to test for illness that might be related to the consumption of GE foods we have to rely on these studies.,

      • Thomas Borreson

        Actually, the experimental design which Seralini used prevents the experiment from demonstrating that GE corn caused cancer. It’s entirely useless for determining that due to the types of rats used, the length of the experiment, and issues with controls.

        Even under these shoddy conditions of small samples and using Sprague-Dawley rats to a span where large numbers of tumors are to be expected, there is a conspicuous lack of anything which could be confused for a dose response.

        If you read the paper with a scientifically literate eye, you would realise this.

        • JuHoansi

          The dose response is in Figure 6. Instead of mouthing off about something you obviously know nothing about, try actually reading the paper. The paper is a toxicity study not a carcinogenic study. Tumors appeared, and Seralini reported them, as is required in OECD guidelines. Seralini’s paper is essentially a replication of Monsanto’s feeding study in FCT from 2004, only longer term.
          Funny how biotech scientists didn’t have any problems with that study using the same rats.

          • Fullerene

            Ju, with rats that are genetically “programmed” to develop tumors, regardless of their environment or food?

            Look again at the dose response. It doesn’t show what you think it does.

          • JuHoansi

            Yes, the same rats that are used throughout nearly all feeding trials. According to OECD guidelines SD rats are supposed to be used. You can’t even follow a discussion.

            I was responding to the above poster who claimed there was no dose response chart. What do you think the does response shows?

      • Pdiff

        Claire, I have read both papers quite carefully and am fully aware that there were two rats per cage (one of each sex). As a practicing statistician in agricultural research for 3+ decades, I have a very critical eye towards data. The data reported for tumors and mortality are clearly not raw data, but rather a summarized version grouped by treatment. In order to build an appropriate statistical model that can test the proposed hypotheses, the raw data format (rat by rat) is required.

        The data is lacking in other aspects as well. For example, they state that rats were palpated for tumor assessment twice a week, however, the data is apparently showing daily values (there is no clear indication of what time is in the data files). Where then, does this extra data come from? They also state that biometric data was recorded at several time points, yet they only show one time point (15 M). Why? What is special about 15 months? Seralini, et al are clearly just letting us see what they want us to see. This, unfortunately, has been their standard MO for some time.

        There is ample evidence these events have no health consequences. The corn products in question are primarily used in animal feeds and have been used as such for many, many years. There is no evidence in the wide array of animal species consuming these feeds of the health effects (or any effects for that matter) claimed by Seralini. Note that these animals also include 100’s of 1000’s of laboratory animals which are produced and used under highly monitored and controlled conditions around the globe in a wide spectrum of research areas. Never has there been any indication that these highly monitored, widely used animals have showed deleterious, unexpected or unexplained health effects. Such health effects are simply not present, nor is there any plausible known mechanism for them to occur. The health concerns here have long ago been put to rest.

        • R. Smiley

          I hate to rain on your parade, but having attended government sponsored hearings where industry swore on a proverbial stack of bibles that there was no problem with what they were doing only for them to be caught out in an out and out lie, I can tell you that there are many ways to spin data in order to avoid unpleasant conclusions.

          My first hand example concerns a large industrial concern defending their dumping of effluent: they stated that “we kept fish in the river water downstream from out outfall for six days and nothing happened to them”. At which point a friend asked “And what happened on the seventh day?” Silence… and then “they all died”. As you can see, there was no actual contradiction, they just cut off the data points on the day before total mortality. Had they been allowed to publish their “research findings” all would have been consistent and peer reviewed… yet would have ultimately been incorrect as to the toxicity of the effluent.

          Monsanto is famous for having short term studies, and (pardon the pun) I smell a rat.

          • Till death do us part

            Smiley , you seem extremely intelligent , however debating with these morons, yea I said it, is a waste of time. It’s this simple , eating a plant designed to kill the very insect that is eating it to stay alive is not something I am going to voluntary ingest. The fact they are refusing to label it and secretly adding into the masses food chain is good enough for me. Let them research away as they are dying from it how ever many years. It takes

  • Eric

    I fully agree with Michael Antoniou. I think that everyone should *READ* this paper. The science does in fact “speak for itself!” Since you read it, understood it, and fully stand by the science in this paper, Mr. Antoniou, I would like you to inform me as to when you have some free time to meet me for Happy Hour at a pub of your choosing. You see, I would like to buy you a pint of RoundUp herbicide so that you may drink to your health, since that is in fact, the only correlative data this paper illustrates.

    No really, I’m not even joking. The data shows that if you’re male (techinically a male Sprauge-Dawley rat), and you drink RoundUp, you’ll live longer. Don’t take my word for it though. Look up the article “Drinking Roundup Herbicide Makes Men Live Longer” and “Bad Science in the paper ‘Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup tolerant GM maize'” by Myles Power (I originally linked them here, but it got me marked as spam).

    I await Mr. Antoniou to join me for a round of RoundUp, and that offer is on the table for any (men only, sorry ladies!) who support the data in this paper.

    P.S. Don’t drink herbicide! ;)

    • Claire Lutyens

      I would like to ask if Eric would be a human subject offering your services as a raging RoundUp-a-holic for a long term generational study on the regular consumption of GE foods sprayed with RoundUp? Now we need 50 more people for the next 15 years for a human study, anyone joining?

      • Jon Entine

        That ‘study’ has been done. We’ve been eating roundup ready crops in the US going on 18 years… 7 trillion meals…and not so much as a sniffle linked in the scientific literature to GMOs or glyphosate. No Cancer rates have been sinking since GMOs took off in the early 2000s, especially stomach cancers. No incidences of increased illnesses or mortality in farm animals around the world, who are largely fed GMO grains. In sum, the research literature and empirical/practical data coincide. That’s why every major science and food oversight agency in the world—every one–has endorsed the safety and health of GMO foods, in fact often calling GMO foods healthier and more sustainable than organic and other conventional foods because of they are evaluated so critically during and after the approval process.

        • Eric

          What Clair also fails to realize (like most scientifically illiterate people), is that dosage matters. The amount of RoundUp (or any pesticide) that is sprayed is regulated by Federal Agencies to safe human consumption levels, and honestly, that doesn’t even consider that most people wash/rinse off their fruits and vegetables before eating them anyway.

          Also, it’s pretty well known that organic farming uses natural pesticides, many with higher toxicity ratings than synthetic pesticides (like RoundUp), and as such they are stricter regulations (on cutoff levels) on them. Natural doesn’t necessarily mean “safer” or “better.” Again, dosage matters.

          RoundUp is actually one of the safest pesticides on the market, hence the reason why it’s so popular. It has nothing to do with “shadow conspiracies” of Monsanto trying to rule the world by controlling our food, lol. It’s simply what works best for most farmers at the moment, and what has been deemed safest for human consumption (at the moment). Also, GM Biotechnology in many cases can enable farmers to spray even less pesticides, so how is that a bad thing?

          Honestly, I wonder how anti-GMOers feel about bananas. Why aren’t they protesting against them? After all the banana we’ve grown accustomed to eating today is a seedless triploid, an asexual clone bred through banana tree “pup.” Human cultivation alone is the only reason bananas have survived until today, without natural sexual propagation. Wild (“natural”) bananas do reproduce sexually, and are quite different than the cultivated fruit we eat today. They are small, dry, loaded with inedible seeds and have hard flesh. The soft yellow flesh we are used to today is the result of collective mutations cultivated thousands of years ago. This selection makes them completely sterile, and they are unable to survive in a wild “natural” state.

          I think every time an anti-GMO activist says that we should stop “messing around with nature” when it comes to agriculture, they should be asked if they would like to eat a wild banana.

          • R. Smiley

            Eric, I’m not sure what you think you know about bananas… or anything else, for that matter. While the Cavendish banana is indeed a sterile triploid, wild type (seed producing) bananas have traditionally been and will continue to be eaten by residents of tropical climes: the seeds only develop if you allow the fruit to ripen on the tree – just as commercial bananas don’t do well if you allow them to ripen on the tree: they are picked green in accordance to when the bunch started to develop. Otherwise, they go soft and fall off. (In the Philippines, for example, it was the custom to bury bananas of the seed producing types in rice – bags kept in the home – in order to ripen them.)

            To compare traditional plant breeding with shotgun gene insertion techniques in the way you have is called the ‘straw man’ argument, and is meaningless.

            In short, your remarks about bananas are not germane to the discussion and only indicate that you really don’t know that much about what happens in a research institute. Having seen full professors frantic about whether or not their grant is going to be renewed moving heaven and earth to write the article… which was subsequently published… saying something good about the product they have been testing (after the faculty statistician gave the thumbs down on years of data) I can assure you that it comes as cold comfort to say that the very organizations tasked with ensuring that our food is safe have o.k.’d the product – especially when it turns out that there is a revolving door for senior employees between them and Monsanto.

            I myself… and between two and ten percent of a test population encompassing a community of 1500 souls I had occasion to eat at the same kitchen with… suffer from explosive intestinal distress after eating food cooked with GMO sourced cooking oil. The symptoms disappeared once I realized that it had to be the oil and stopped eating anything soaked in it – institutional food tends to go heavy on cheap oil – and informed the neighbours as well (who had, judging from the cessation of noises emanating from their wc downstairs, heard through a cement and terrazzo floor had similar relief – and the word spread like wildfire, to the point that after three weeks I heard people saying … “Well… I guess some people are sensitive to it…”) yet I never found peer reviewed literature in restricted journals which dealt with these problems and have not heard of government restrictions on use or consumption.

            In order for us to say that dosage matters we’d have to see more research. It might not, and I have seen cases when an increase over a certain level did NOT bring about an increased response. You don’t know what you are talking about, nor apparently do some of the professors noted above; either that or they are lying.

            Springer is one of the better publishing houses, and I would feel better if Monsanto did not demand of anyone buying their product not to use it for research purposes….

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            You accuse others of lying after coming up with that cockamamie story about you, your neighbors and the cooking oil? Re bananas I made some observations about the bananas I grow and never mentioned Cavendish. In another conversation. So your Cavendish comment is irrelevant. Further why would someone grow wild bananas from seed and thus delay yield without gaining any improvement in nutrition or yield when that person could simply start a new mat by dividing corms?

          • R. Smiley

            Right, Eric. Who am I going to believe? You or my own lying eyes? I probably wouldn’t have twigged to the oil without my downstairs neighbour having the same problem at two in the morning as I did (not really sweet music, but it was a duet at times) plus the fact that I spent time away from the kitchen in question and after a couple of weeks noticed that I had no more attacks. They returned when I consumed food cooked in the oil… and that was nothing compared to what used to happen during night marches in the army: I was radio man, meaning that I was at the head of the column, and the gas rolled out of me in clouds: there were literally cries of protest from those following me up. (They used to fry eggs – and everything else – in about an inch of oil… and you ate anything and everything you could get because there was never enough food)

            Your problem is a personal one, and I sympathize with you: You are emotionally attached to your opinion which is that GM plants are identical to non-GMOs without having either education or facts to support it. I happen to have personal experience to the contrary, have heard of others who had a similar experience to me, and agree with Dr. Suzuki, who by chance was my genetics prof at UBC.

            Re bananas. You were talking about the Cavendish banana even if you don’t know it. The yellow banana we all buy in the stores is the Cavendish. Its a triploid. It doesn’t produce seeds. Bananas reproduce both vegetatively (corms) and in most non-commercial cases by seeds, and the dipoid and tetraploids are capable of producing seeds, but like apples or any other fruit, when you get a good variety, you propagate it vegetatively. ( If that isn’t too difficult for you to understand) its just that Chiquita Banana doesn’t sell them. Their banana isn’t really very good, but it is uniform and big and pretty (even the Gros Michel was better tasting), and that is what is sold in the market. Here is a link if you are actually interested;
            My father had many happy experiences with Lacatan bananas during the
            war, and I studied subtropical horticulture both as an undergrad and postgrad; now if that isn’t good enough for you, I’m really sorry. Are you also a Global warming denier?

        • Rickinreallife

          It is also interesting to me that feed conversion ratios contine to climb in hogs and cattle even as ge corn and soy make up the majority of grains in livestock diets, again another indicator that Seralinis purported findings are not consistent with real world –there is no there. If Seralini’s and Carmen’s studies were an actual detection of real world phenomenon, it would have long ago shown up in feeding statistics. If we need powerful, selfish murkily conspiratoral commercial interests, consider that meat packers amd meat producers have as much or more economic muscle and political clout than Monsanto, yet somehow these interest have tolerated biotech companies supplying them with defective products. If Seralini and Carmen are correct,it should have been readily apparent long ago as the bottom line for producer amd meat packers would be adversely affected by widespread physiological effects that would decrease feed efficiency, increasing medical costs, and reduced reproductive success. In fact, the data suggests quite the opposite.

          • R. Smiley

            Rick, Interesting it may be, but connected it ain’t. How come there are so many scientific illiterates trying to pass themselves off as arbiters of scientific literature? You might wish to read up on the use of anti-biotics to increase weight gain or microbiomes. What research institute did you (NOT) do your post grad work at?

            Commercial interests do not necessarily coincide with health or benefit. In fact, the yield figures I have read (in peer reviewed literature and closed journals) indicate that GMOs have LOWER yields… yet in many countries they are widespread, and in others they are not.

          • rick

            R. Smiley — “How come there are so many scientific illiterates trying to pass themselves off as arbiters of scientific literature? . . . What research institute did you (NOT) do your post grad work at?”
            It is not my intention to represent myself as a research scientist. You are correct, I do not have any academic or career credentials in relevant fields of study. While I have never claimed different, and didn’t above, I apologize to you or anyone offended by my tenor who found it arrogant or dismissive, or adopting a false air of authority.
            However, I was not aware that laypersons were precluded from commenting, and I still believe the point I was raising is a legitimate one. Apart from the quality of the Seralini study itself, (I.e. the study design, data collection and analysis, and interpretation) legitimate criticisms raised by others in the scientific community such as those quoted above, there are other reasons why I do not believe it to be unreasonable whether a fellow research scientist or a layperson like myself, to be skeptical about basing my personal choices or public policy on the claims made by this study or Judy Carmen’s hog study in particular. These would be reasonable criteria for laypersons to apply to the findings of any research project in any field, and especially those that make fairly sensational claims . One of these is whether the purported evidence and findings, if true, correspond with real world observations.
            Both Carmen and Seralini purport to have demonstrated that the process of ge somehow instills toxic and carcinogenic corruption to the feed products derived from crops that include a portion of their genetic endowment derived from biotech applications to seed genetics. If the works by these researchers had indeed discovered a heretofore undiscovered phenomenon with severe health implications for livestock consuming the products, there would likely be confirmation in other measurements of productivity, such as trends in feed conversion efficiency, reproductive success, etc. (will expand on that in a second reply). Data I am aware of does not indicate that longterm trends in increasing feed conversion efficiency have been affected by the entry and dominance of feedstuffs derived from ge crops.

          • rick

            R. Smiley said “Interesting it may be, but connected it ain’t.”

            I respectfully disagree. Feed conversion efficiency or feed conversion ratio (FCR)
            [] is indirectly a measure of health. It is a function of the animal’s genetics and age, the quality of the feed, and the conditions in
            which the animal is kept.” .[Feed efficiency, i.e. the rate by which livestock convert feed to growth, typically reported as units of growth per unit of feed, or total amount of feed required for an animal starting at weight A to reach market end weight B, is a closely watched measurement both in macro and by individual producers.

            Why, because animals experiencing health problems (acute or chronic) have to
            devote a higher proportion of the nutrients and energy of their diets to deal with the health issue, or other environmental stresses like
            heat or cold (more energy required to keep cool or warm). Higher feed conversion ratios indicate animals are freer of disease or illness
            stresses and therefore are able to devote more of their feed to growth.

            Judy Carmen and Dr. Seralini both claim to have found evidence that ge feed ingredients somehow are playing havoc with internal organs and contributing to adverse health indicators. If true, we should be seeing this corroborated, both at the individual producer level and in aggregate statistics, in stagnant or declining feed conversion ratios and reproductive data, particularly in breeding herds that consume these feedproducts over a lifetime, since ge crops were introduced.

          • R. Smiley

            I won’t say that there is no logical basis for your arguments; I always did well in the genetics courses; it was all so beautifully logical. Fortunately I avoided that field as a career as I never really liked lab work. And then it turned out that we were quite simply wrong. Reality appears to be far more complicated than what we conceived.

            For example, the following link. (again, he may not be right either, but as you can see, there are levels and more levels of understanding, feedbacks, and lord knows what all.)


            Just because something is gaining weight doesn’t mean that it is “better off”. For example, extrapolating from the above, GMOs could be having a deleterious effect on gut bacteria (we know that, given the choice, animals won’t eat GMO foods) – or something far worse. As Dr Suzuki observed, we are engaged in a massive experiment.


          • rick

            “You might wish to read up on the use of anti-biotics to increase weight gain or microbiomes.”
            Yes, subtherapeutic use of antibiotics and antimicrobitics are utilized for growth promotion. But that only supports my understanding that feed conversion efficiency is a function of animal health. Yes, this is a very simplistic description, but anti-biotics have a growth promotion effect by protecting against viruses, pathogens etc that would cause the animal to utilize a higher proportion of its feed intake to body functions to fight off disease leaving less for growth.
            There are any number of other factors in addition to use of growth promotion medications that that have contributed to increases in feed efficiency, e.g. genetics, housing that insulates animals from environmental stresses of heat, cold, parasites, etc,. All of these work by reducing the amount of energy and nutrients from feed that are required and metabolized for maintenance and leaving more for growth.
            I am theorizing that these would be counteracted if the feed were somehow contaminated with toxins, attacking internal organs because of ge, animals would have to use more energy to stay well and feed conversion rates would fall. Also, anti biotics and anti microbials would not defend an animal against toxins that Seralini and Carmen suggest are in there although not identified.

          • Mlema

            This may be off topic, but antibiotics in food production are perhaps the biggest contributor to antibiotic resistant bacteria. This may cause a huge problem for human health at some point, if it isn’t already (ineffective antibiotics for human infections)

          • Derrick S.

            Not to mention certain antibiotics in steady doses causes damage to the kidneys. My mother is dealing with the problem currently. But you are correct in regard to the resilience to antibiotics.

          • rick

            “Commercial interests do not necessarily coincide with health or benefit”
            Thanks for the morality pointer, but animal health and commercial interests do often coincide. I am still doubtful that if something about ge made the grain toxic to animals, that it would not be apparent to producers and meat processors. And I am doubtful that commercial interests such as producers and meat packers would acquiesce to feed products that increased their costs of production by reducing feed efficiency or reduce reproductive success, or that result in packers having to reject more animals, increase recalls and reduce meat quality, due to health issues.
            That was my original point, if Seralini and Carmen are right that ge crops cause adverse animal health, that would impact powerful commercial interests. Again, do the claims of these studies correspond with the real world.

          • Mlema

            That’s a good point imo. Insect resistant and pesticide tolerant GMOs have improved production in some areas. But, for instance, in some places bt crops are a waste of money because they don’t really provide any increase in yield (the pests they protect against arent’ a problem there or there are other pests not affected by bt toxins). If you look at the federal approval list of GMOs, perhaps 95% are commodity crops engineered for pesticide tolerance or insect resistance. And now of course the pesticide tolerance is stacked for a number of pesticides more toxic than Roundup AND also with bt. These traits are for convenience of production. They’ve had some minimal environmental benefit, but there are many questions about the wisdom of this track. For instance, the effects on non-target insects over time, the resistance that requires more toxic pesticides, the wisdom of engineering bt into all these plants when it’s not a protein that people have consumed in this way ever before, and the fact that it makes bt as an applied pesticide more ineffective over time. We’re increased the presence of bt in the environment in a big way and we don’t really know what effect it will have. So, as far as meat production – I agree – there’s little evidence that GMOs affect the overall production of meat or “feed conversion” – however, feed conversion and litter size don’t reflect on the safety of humans consuming any current or future GMO as a whole food. And since it does appear that SOME gmos negatively affect the health of rats or mice in long-term or generational studies, I think it makes sense to be very cautious about how we proceed with this technology for human food. I also think that the current agricultural use of GMOs is unsustainable, just as earlier pesticide-driven industrial agriculture was. We’re not going to be able to escape the basic facts of food production: good soil, water and pest management. There are brilliant agricultural scientists and knowledgeable farmers in every climate who can best help us to utilize and conserve resources at the same time. We don’t really need companies like Monsanto sucking the taxpayers through federal subsidies for the crop seeds they patent. That money should be going to public development of traits (whether gmo or conventional) that will help us deal with current problems of production – not international trade profits)

          • Jon Entine

            There is no evidence that ANY GMOs pose deleterious health effects to humans–none. Bt is a natural pesticide that’s been shown not to be biologically active in humans, so has no human impact. Producing commodity crops is not a negative; they are used to feed animals, which is used to produce for humans. They are also used for many crops that humans consume. US food costs are the lowest in the world. That may not mean much to more affluent consumers but in the developing, cutting commodity food costs can improve the nutrition of millions of people and save lives. No country has introduced Bt crops where it’s not needed. It’s introduction in places like India have literally been a godsend, as it raised family incomes and protected against pesticide poisonings. That’s why its’ usage/adoption rate has gone from 0 to near 100% in less than a decade–it works.

          • Mlema

            The theory is that because there are no receptors in the human gut which would work the way they do in the insect gut to cause the proteins to rupture cells, that there’s no effect in the human. But the fact is, we’ve never eaten foods that contain these proteins throughout. They’ve only been incidentally ingested or breathed in. They’re now engineered into many many tons of plants – where they didn’t exist. And they’re increased in the soils. We just don’t know what the effects will be over time. We do know that they’ve reduced the effectiveness of bt sprays – which were used intermittently, had a lower rate of development of resistance, and washed off the plants they were applied to.

            “They are also used for many crops that humans consume.”

            We eat extracts like sugars and oils. We’re not actually eating GMOs as whole foods – in the form that may prove problematic due to changes in composition.

            You can’t overlay American agriculture onto the third world. And shipping feed crops to other countries isn’t a solution to global food security. In fact, I’m not sure what you’re referring to when you imply that GMOs will reduce food costs in developing countries.

            The whole debate about the benefit of bt cotton in India continues. It has only increased income in some cases. Income data is too complicated and the one study which shows a link is heavily contested. Not interested in getting into that.

            But no, there’s no evidence that GMOs are safe for humans to eat as whole foods. Perhaps some are or will be, but without tests to determine a greater equivalency than we currently have, there’s just no way to know. I’m not saying they’re unsafe, but SOME feeding studies, on SOME GMOs indicate reason for caution. I don’t know why you would oppose this, since every GMO is different, and since transgenics in some cases significantly change gene expression or secondary metabolism – why would you insist on putting forth the idea that ANY GMO is safe. I mean, that’s not exactly what you’re saying. You’re saying:
            “There is no evidence that ANY GMOs pose deleterious health effects to humans–none.”
            But that’s kinda meaningless when you consider that:
            1) we don’t test most of these crops for deleterious health effects to humans because we’re using them for fuel and meat production and extracts that would have little of the rest of the GMO present in them, (humans aren’t eating them as is – or, if they are we’re not testing what’s happening anyway), and 2) You can’t make an all-inclusive statement about GMOs. They’re all different. And new ones will be even more different because we’re stacking traits and trying to modify more complicated pathways

          • Jon Entine

            The inability of Bt to react in humans is not a “theory”; it’s a biological fact. You clearly have taken basic biology, for if you would you understand the 100% impossibility. The increased income from the use of Bt in India is overwhelming, and well documented, and is underscored by the increased demand for Bt crops. You may not want to get into but it’s fact. The statement you made about new GMOs possibly having a health effect apply even more so to the 3000 crops created through mutagenesis and the new crops created every week through conventional mutation breeding. Any new combination of proteins can have unusual impacts. The difference between ones created through genetic engineering is that they are actually tested and are therefore safer. Foods with GMOs are actually safer than conventional or organics because of that (though foods of any rarely pose a health hazard because of the flexibility and resilience of the human digestive system. Do yourself a favor and take some basic courses in genetics and biology, and farming. It’s clear you do not have a background knowledge in these areas, or you would not be posting the things you do. Good luck in your attempt to demonize GMOs.

          • Mlema

            OK, well thanks for your advise but it seems inappropriate. You seem to be mixing several issues together which is difficult to address. I simply think it’s unwise to approach this technology as if it’s a monolithic and homogeneous thing. There are certain corporations which are endangering the benefit that the technology can provide by applying it unwisely for the sake of profits. They endanger the benefits because the public doesn’t like it and may end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater. That would be bad. But these claims about thousands of safety studies and no evidence of harm, where no evidence exists, are only feeding the distrust of the public.

          • Derrick S.

            Regardless of whether the products are healthy or unhealthy for human consumption, consumers should have a CHOICE! It wouldn’t matter if organic was just as unhealthy, it comes down to CHOICE. If we decide we do not want to consume any product containing GMOs or by-products containing GMOs, that is our right.
            What part of CHOICE do you not understand?

          • Derrick S.

            Incorrect. There have been nothing but problems in India since they have been forced to grow GM Cotton. Yields are down. Additionally, the animals they allow to feed on the remaining plants after the harvest, died within three days time.
            Maybe you can explain why the suicide rate amongst farmers of the GM Cotton has soared. In the beginning, the government blew it off, as there have always been deaths of farmers from suicide, but now they have taken notice of it and have admitted that it is directly related to the problems with GM crops.
            Not to mention, the farmers save their seed to be used again in subsequent years for which they cannot do with patented GM products.
            This is just a few of the problems I’ve read about pertaining to India’s use of GM crops. I don’t know where you got your information, but I’d check other sources to confirm your findings.

          • rick

            ” In fact, the yield figures I have read (in peer reviewed literature and closed journals) indicate that GMOs have LOWER yields…”
            Not sure why you changed the subject from feedstuff quality as reflected in feed conversion ratios to crop yields, two entirely different topics.

          • rick

            There is very little in your post that I felt answered the assertion I was making, that if Seralini and Carman’s findings were correct, it would be corroborated independently in feed efficiency and measurements of reproductive health such as litter sizes, survival rates, etc., all of which have continued to improve since the introduction of ge traits in crop genetics.
            However, you have indirectly made one point, well that I agree with. I generally lean to the belief that biotech applications in agriculture can contribute to food quality, food security and can provide innovative and environmentally beneficial solutions to agronomic problems. However, I too observe that proponents of biotech do too often in these comment strings assume an air of arrogance and dismissiveness of legitimate questions and concerns of the lay public or even other scientists. There is a tendency to adopt an attitude of some type of a scientific priesthood and that anyone challenging the science or its application are criticized.
            I personally am very convinced that the Seralini study is of such poor quality and tainted by a transparent agenda, that it offers very little of value in guiding our assessment of risks of ge. I am also very convinced that ultimately,the question of whether the process of ge itself inserts novel health risks will be resolved in favor of the relative safety of genetic engineering. For many reasons that I wont go into here, that assumption is corroborated from a variety of approaches that suggest that long-term feeding studies of rats are a wild goose chase.
            That does not end the argument of the value and benefits of ge. I believe the debate about safety is actually a surrogate for the more important and consequential questions of how the technology can be most wisely used. As an analogy, the technology of the internal combustion engine can be used to speed a heart attack victim to livesaving care, or it can be used to help rob a bank. Similarly, I believe the issue is not about the safety or morality of ge itself, but rather what applications of biotechnology in agriculture are of benefit and which are not.

          • Mlema

            Animals have been bred and medicated to have bigger flesh parts (giant breasts on chickens for example, and administration of hormones to cattle in feed lots to fatten them pre-slaughter). The fact that they have comparable weights or that the gross appearance of their organs at slaughter is the same doesn’t reflect on their health in a way that would be significant to humans. Some feeding studies do indicate that some GMOS create immune changes in some tissues/organs. It seems worth looking into before allowing whole foods (like sweet corn or eggplant) onto our dinner plates, even though the current introduction through GMO-fed meat or from sugar or oil extracts seem unlikely to be problematic for people. Right now GMOs are more of an environmental problem. But the industry is counting on us accepting the idea that we already know they’re safe to eat in order to introduce nutritionally-altered/pesticide resistant plants which can also be patented – until Monsanto and others receive a bit of a royalty on each bite we take. (that’s what I think)

        • R. Smiley

          Please, Jon, you don’t know what you are talking about.

          • Susan Parchick

            The studies are all to short to be honest.
            Our cat, 14 years old, was just diagnosed with renal disease…stage 2. After reading, talking to pet owners, and our vet, this seems to be a common problem that happens regularly at about the same age. Vets that see the same pets for years should be recognized as part of the the long term studies. The chances that Monsanto and the others are honest is so slim.

            So many pet owner are faced with cancer, Why is the no data for that?
            It’s a more honest place to invest in the truth about long term effects.
            Our cat had three blood tests, to get teeth cleaned, First was fine, Three years later not so great. At 14, showed stage 2 renal. Why?
            Our cat eats good foods, at least I thought so.
            Check out the top 10 causes of death world wide at WHO. Look up the average age for lung cancer for smokers and non smokers.
            This is data world wide…why is it not counted.

      • Eric

        Sure, as Jon pointed out, I’ve been doing it for pretty much 18 years now anyway. Where do I sign up? :)

    • Wackes Seppi

      If you happen to meet Mr. Antoniou for Happy Hour, ask him why he has not indicated that he is a member of the scientific council of CRIIGEN, the opaque organisation which Mr. Séralini also belongs to and whose objective is to promote the kind of « science » that has just been republished.

  • Eric Bjerregaard

    Mr. Pdiff, Have you considered that the answer to your question is that Springer is really Jerry Springer?

    • R. Smiley

      Springer is Springer-Verlag. I would hope that this was just a joke.

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        Google Jerry Springer and see for yourself. Btw Many a truth is said in jest. Also For publishing the research of a “scientist” that could be arrested for animal cruelty in many jurisdictions for actions involved in producing that “study” should embarrass both journals.

  • Anandaloha

    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”.

    • Wackes Seppi

      The resilience of the community he and Mr. Séralini belong to…

      In the world of real science a discredited paper – criticised if not blasted by dozens of scientists, a dozen regulatory national authorities and EFSA, the six scientific academies of France acting in a most unusual joint move, ethics authorities, journalists and their associations – would not have been republished, at least not without major changes.

      • Mlema

        There was plenty of independent support for the paper because the independent guys didn’t like to see a paper retracted simply due to inconclusive results. It sets a dangerous precedent. Namely, if an industry can influence publication – it can influence scientific and public opinion.

    • mem_somerville

      Yeah. He also said it’s now gone through “yet another round of rigorous blind peer review”, which is false.

  • brent1023

    Monsanto netted $2 billion in 2013.
    According to this paper, the testing Monsanto did to be allowed to sell roundup ready corn involved a few rats for a few weeks.
    Monsanto should fund a proper study – double blind, researchers unaware of what treatments they are giving the rats – that will generate statistically significant results. One way or the other.
    It is takes 10,000 rates for 5 years – get started. Groups of rats at reliable research labs that do this type of testing all the time. Overseen by a researcher independent of Monsanto funding. Or even split it into 3 parts, 3 different independent researchers unknown to each other and not communicating during the test.
    It is in the best interests of Monsanto and their shareholders to put this matter to rest.

    • copperfoxf5

      Interesting fact: Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s makes approximately the same in profits that Monsanto does, each. They don’t invest in food safety research though. With the number of organic food recalls due to E. coli, listeria, salmonella, and other pathogenic contaminants, don’t you think it’d be a good idea for Whole Foods to chip in a dollar to develop safer agricultural methods? Or with how frequently Trader Joe’s was in the news last year for product recalls, does anyone question their food? Nope. Because for some reason, as far as the mass is concerned Organic = Safe. It doesn’t, of course, but that’s what the public believes. But who cares, when all you have to do is put on a label on food, and it somehow magically means “safe” or “unsafe”? That’s what the GMO-labeling proposal is supposed to do, right?

      As much as the Seralini crew speculates that theirs is the only long term study, there are others. And as mentioned in the above statements, new studies long term studies are being funded in Europe. Not like the anti-GMO crowd will pay attention to the results from any of those though….. Because as usual, “I bet they were paid off by Monsanto.”

      • brent1023

        Whole Foods – a retailer – net $142 million. Trader Joe’s – a retailer – net $292 million. So, about one-tenth of Monsanto on net. Neither is developing a new range of crops. Hardly comparable.

        Bringing in the organic argument is a distraction, unrelated to the topic at hand.

        Good to hear that long term studies are being funded.

        My original question remains – Why has Monsanto not funded independent studies?

        Unfortunately your answer has not contributed to my understanding of the issue.

        Disclosure – not part of any vast conspiracy to destroy Monsanto. Just wondering why the state of the science is so poor.

        • copperfoxf5

          Net sales Monsanto 2013: 14.86 billion
          Net sales Whole Foods 2013: 12.9 billion
          Net sales Trader Joe’s 2013: 10.5 billion

          Whole Foods and Monsanto have annual reports available to see online. Trader Joe’s doesn’t, but Supermarket News does have annual profit info available on their website. I don’t understand the point of describing them as a retailer. Like Monsanto, they produce and distribute a product that in the end normal consumers purchase. And they do have something to gain if they are able to eliminate a competitive market.

          And do you realize how your question is an oxymoron? “Monsanto…. funded independent research….” Most of the argument coming from the anti-GMO camp is that all researchers (including those that perform independent research like those listed in the above statements), are being accused of being bought off by Monsanto. Have you seen other message boards where a person makes a pro-GMO statement only to see, “You must be a Monsanto agent/spy/lobbyist.” And regardless, researchers often make a statement referring to conflict of interest. If Monsanto funds the research, regardless of whether the results from that research are in Monsanto’s interests or not, those researchers if they’re being forthcoming will make a conflict of interest statement that they received funding for their study from Monsanto.

          Are you under the impression that independent research hasn’t been performed by anyone besides Seralini? There are over 2000 articles over the last 20 years where studies have been performed on GMO’s to determine whether or not they are safe. GMO food safety studies and assessments have been performed by the USDA, FDA, CDC, WHO, OECD, the The Australia/New Zealand Food Authority, UK Food Standards Agency, the Association of German Agricultural Analytic and Research Institutes, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Scientific Advisory Panel, the British Crop Protection Panel, Health Canada, the Europe Novel Food Task Force, the Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee, the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment, the Nordic Working Group on Food Toxicology and Risk Assessment, the American Association for the Advancement on Science, the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Science, England’s Royal Society of Medicine, the American Council on Science, the American Dietetic Association, the American Society of Plant Sciences, the International Seed Foundation, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, the Crop Science Society of America, the International Society of African Scientists, the Federation of Animal Sciences Societies, the Society of Toxicology, the French Academy of Science, the Union of German Academics, the International Council for Science, and the various academic scholars of the world. Are you under the impression that all of these governmental agencies work for Monsanto? I’m pretty sure that they’re funded using government money provided by the average taxpayer.

          • R. Smiley

            Net sales are not net profits… so while you could spin your remarks as justification for owning stock in Monsanto, it means sfa about what you claim it to be relevent to, and when you introduce arguments of the sort that you have, it casts doubt on your other statements.

          • copperfoxf5

            You’re right. Net sales aren’t profits. Sorry. My background is in science, not finance. And The Whole Foods annual report doesn’t easily show what their net earnings were in 2013.

            So I did another search here:

            And it states, “Total sales for all Whole Food stores reached $12.9 billion in 2013……Costs of goods held steady at about 64% of sales from 2012, resulting in a gross profit of $4.6 billion or 36% of sales.”

            So if I understand this correctly, Whole Foods profits in 2013 were actually more than twice that of Monsanto.

            Allow me to explain myself. Two and a half months ago, I didn’t care about GMO food or organic food or traditional food. I shop and the local grocery store, and I eat at restaurants that obtain food locally. I don’t discriminate which type of food I eat. I’m on lists for petition sites, mainly because I started signing for equal rights. So recently I started receiving messages by various petition sites to sign petitions to label GMO foods. I said, “Why?” Petition sites such as this one states:


            “Contrary to industry claims, GMO foods have not been proven safe, and a growing body of independent, peer-reviewed studies have linked the consumption of GMO foods to allergies, infertility, immune problems, gastrointestinal disruption, cancer, and a host of other diseases.”

            Being a scientist, I started trying to review these “peer-reviewed studies” discussing the detrimental effects described. One of the main study that they’re referring to is, of course, the Seralini cancer study, which despite its republication remains inconclusive, which is the nice was of saying that it’s invalid. On the other hand, there are literally hundreds of articles where safety assessments have been performed, and the conclusions from those articles have not shown any of the above stated side effects mentioned in the petition. I did not pull the list of agencies I wrote in my previous statement out of my ass. It’s called PubMed, a search engine specifically for scientific articles. You can also put an organization’s name into a Google search with the term “GMO” in it, and they will have their own page discussing GMO and GMO research. For example, the European Food Safety Authority’ page on GMO’s


            Anyway, after looking into the research and safety studies, and finding little to nothing to support the petitions claims, I can’t help by wonder who is spreading this information and why. Low and behold, supposed non-profit agencies in organic food, like the Organic Consumers Association and the Non-GMO project are at the head of the anti-GMO campaign. What’s especially charming are the posts the OCA put on their facebook page:


            After looking at some of their posts, it’s pretty apparent that there’s a good amount of fear mongering going on in the anti-GMO and GMO-labeling debate. So here we are, with organic food proponents goading the populous to question whether genetically engineered food is safe, which their followers believe isn’t. Their followers are under the impression that organic = safe and gmo = poison, and that’s how they advertise it. Why?

            P.S.: Whole Foods supports the Non-GMO Project.


            And they’re super rich. Obviously they have far more money than you gave yourself the impression that they do. Which is ironic given the general perception that people have about this debate. Most people talk about Monsanto’s $2 billion dollar profit and wealth, and are imagine to themselves something akin to oil billionaires, who we all know disregard environment and climate change in order to make profit. And then they compare that to what they imagine organic agriculturalists are: a simple guy in overalls with a pitchfork that’s trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. Why is that the impression people have? Maybe marketing? I don’t know? Again, not my area of expertise.

            Organic food is sold under the premise that it’s safer and more nutritious than conventional food. Nobody asks that they prove that their food meets that expectation and standard. Independent research performed (you like independent research, right?) suggests that it does not.



            The point that I’ve been trying to make, specifically to you, and why I bring up profits is this: Why would you insist upon Monsanto investing in “independent research” to prove the validity and worth of their product (which has already been thoroughly researched by scientists other than those employed by Monsanto), but not demand the same of organic food distributors that have the same financial means to do so as well? And please, don’t respond back with, “You’re trying to distract…..” or, “It casts doubts on your statements…..” I get the impression that your answer to this question proves the point I’m getting at.

          • Karen Glammeyer Medcoff

            so please explain to me why conventional farms are subsidized and do not have to pay fees for spraying toxic chemicals and using gmo seeds, but organic growers get PENALIZED, NO subsidies and have to jump through shitloads of hoops just to produce? skewed to me highly

          • copperfoxf5

            What does any of that mean? Do you have a reliable source that I can read instead, so that I might respond to your unintelligible statement?

          • Karen Glammeyer Medcoff

            if you cannot read plain english, then I have no further use to talk to you in this discussion

          • copperfoxf5

            And if you can’t make a citation, you might as well pull fairy dust out of your ass.

          • TriXteR Phillips

            “And if you can’t make a citation, you might as well pull fairy dust out of your ass.”

            This comment is today’s winner of The Internets, lol.

          • Ken

            In plain English, then, Karen you have NOTHING to support your assertions..right? You have just absolutely destroyed ANY credibility you may have had. Who is doing this subsidizing and penalizing? Remember, cite credible sources, not just ” my mommy or Food Babe told me.”

          • Derrick S.

            Put everything aside. Bottom line is this: People should have the right to decide whether or not they eat GMO or Non GMO products as well as products with containing their derivatives (period). CHOICE!
            What part of that can’t you understand?
            To hell with everything else. We should have a choice, and we will.
            Did you know that the only location of corn uncontaminated by GMO corn was in Oaxaca, Mexico. “Was,” is the key word here. Upon further examination they discovered it along the perimeters of their fields. My point is that no one should have control over any food crop on this planet. Not the seeds and not the crop. Monsanto’s corn has found its way into nearly all the other farmlands that were sown with organic crops.
            Then Monsanto sends out the goon squad to take samples from fields belonging to other farmers, only to discover their product in those fields. Then they take the farmers to court because they didn’t get paid for the crop that found its way there on it’s own.
            Controlling the seed supply should not be a monopoly.
            There are two issues of importance regardless of any/all studies.
            1. CHOICE
            2. SEED MONOPOLY
            I didn’t mention how it screwed the farmers that normally saved their seed to plant the following year…. Not anymore!

          • Mlema

            “There are over 2000 articles over the last 20 years where studies have
            been performed on GMO’s to determine whether or not they are safe. GMO
            food safety studies and assessments have been performed by the USDA,
            FDA, CDC, WHO, OECD, the The Australia/New Zealand Food Authority, UK
            Food Standards Agency, the Association of German Agricultural Analytic
            and Research Institutes,…… [etc.]”

            The USDA, FDA, CDC, WHO, and many of the other orgs you’ve listed do not test GMOs for safety. And there are not 2000+ studies on GMO safety.

            Where did you get that info?

          • Jon Entine

            There are links in the article.

          • Mlema


          • copperfoxf5

            What website do you think you’re on? That reference is from the Genetic Literacy Project….. multiple times:


            And if there is such a huge health risk in consuming GMOs, don’t you think that governmental agencies would investigate it? I’m sure you’re under the impression that they’d just say, “Fu#k it,” but then, they’re not as unreliable as that.

            From the World Health Organization’s wepage:

            Dr Jorgen Schlundt, Director of WHO’s Food Safety Department, “We can hope to gain the health and nutritional improvements of GM foods when we can help countries to research how they can control and exploit the introduction of GM products for the benefit of their own people.”

            CDC report to FDA:
            Title – Investigation of human illness associated with potential exposure to Cry9c

            “An FDA laboratory developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method to detect antibodies to the Cry9c protein. CDC sent coded serum samples to FDA for analysis, including serum samples from the affected people and historically banked serum samples collected before Cry9c entered the food supply. CDC also sent serum samples from people identified as being highly sensitive to a variety of allergens. The ELISA method found that none of the CDC-submitted samples reacted in a manner consistent with an allergic response to the Cry9c protein.

            These findings do not provide any evidence that the reactions that the affected people experienced were associated with hypersensitivity to the Cry9c protein.”

            And finally, the USDA:

            “With respect to food safety, when new traits introduced to biotech-derived plants are examined by the EPA and the FDA, the proteins produced by these traits are studied for their potential toxicity and potential to cause an allergic response. Tests designed to examine the heat and digestive stability of these proteins, as well as their similarity to known allergenic proteins, are completed prior to entry into the food or feed supply. To put these considerations in perspective, it is useful to note that while the particular biotech traits being used are often new to crops in that they often do not come from plants (many are from bacteria and viruses), the same basic types of traits often can be found naturally in most plants. These basic traits, like insect and disease resistance, have allowed plants to survive and evolve over time.”

            And that’s just the USDA, FDA, CDC, and WHO. European, Canadian, and Australian regulatory agencies, as well as other agencies in other countries, also study and review genetically engineered foods before they’re released to consumers. GMO’s aren’t the most heavily regulated food in the world because governments are like, “Well, if Monsanto says it’s ok, then it must be ok.”

            And as how just because farmers of 800 years ago didn’t know what genes were when they genetically manipulated wheat to become the common wheat we eat today, so too can I say, “Just because you don’t know that there are over 2000 studies on GMO’s doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.”

            This PubMed search of “genetically modified food” returns 4432 results. Of course, not all of them are specifically pertaining to GMO’s but you get the drift: The earlier GLP link contains another link for a download of the list of articles on safety studies.


          • Mlema

            Like I said, The USDA, FDA, CDC, WHO, and many of the other orgs you’ve listed do not
            test GMOs for safety. And there are not 2000+ studies on GMO safety.

            Monsanto tests it’s own products and tells the FDA they’re safe. If the FDA has concerns, it may ask for more evaluation – all of which is voluntary. Scott’s decided to skip the USDA evaluations on its RR bluegrass, against scientists warnings. And I’m sure there are 2000+ studies that can, in one way or another, be linked to GMOs. It doesn’t mean they’re extensively tested for human consumption. Those tests are few, because, as I’ve said already, humans aren’t consumed GMO whole foods outside of some sweet corn and eggplant. There are lots of different cry proteins, but, more importantly, every GMO is different because the process used, and the species involved can affect the resultant plant in countless different ways. It doesn’t matter how many studies there are on GMOs – unless there’s been at least one relatively good feeding study on a suitable species, it’s irrelevant to human safety. OR – if proteonomic or metablomic studies show exactness in substance, then ok. But it’s the ultimate in silliness to say we have thousands of studies that show it’s safe for me to eat any particular GMO. And the reason we have lots of studies on GMOs that we don’t have on more traditionally bred plants is BECAUSE THEY’RE GMOs. If you believe the clap trap that they’re “more precise, more safe, etc.” then – well, what can I say? I don’t want to be rude :)

          • Derrick S.

            I stopped reading when you began the false statements declaring that the FDA did research. That is a complete LIE!
            Follow the money. While you’re at it, you can explain why so many researchers have been terminated? Some from universities while others from Monsanto and independent agencies were let go and completely discredited because they put up a red flag.
            As a cultivator of medical cannabis I know all about human nature when it comes to greed. It takes one to know one.
            The only difference is that the product I produce isn’t causing harm to the public. Just a quick side note: The U.S. government had in excess of 1,000 patents related to cannabis by 1974. Think about that in your spare time.
            I am working on the cutting edge of cannabis research.
            Back to the topic at hand; none of the government agencies have done any research on GMOs. They have on pesticides.
            I am a certified restricted use pesticide applicator with endorsements in Turf & Ornamental, Weed and Right of way since 1993 and I worked as an applicator since 1988. I only mention it because I work with many others in the Ag industry, landscape & irrigation industry and the chemical business.
            These companies are all about their bottom line. That will not let anything or anyone get in the way of those profits–regardless of risks to public health.

          • LogicDefined

            I wonder if this isn’t the reason the “anti-Monsanto people” aren’t “buying” the report: “Simultaneously, there is a deplorable worldwide trend of governments silencing scientists for political ends [5] (Politically Correct Science for the Masses, SiS 61) thereby effectively curtailing people’s access to information potentially vital to their safety and well-being, and based on which they can exercise their democratic right as voters. It is also an intolerable restriction on the freedom of scientists to speak as scientists and as ordinary citizens. Scientists must be free to tell the truth and express their views accordingly on scientific issues.”

          • Peter Olins

            @LogicDefined—Cutting and pasting material from other websites is not a substitute for rational argument. Could you please state your point in your own words?

        • Derrick S.

          Because it has been corrupted by greed! I agree with your reply with exception to your disclosure. After extensive research of Monsanto going back to 1904 in addition to Dow Chemical and others, I wouldn’t blame those on a witch hunt. There is evidence, stacks upon stacks, that clearly displays their motives…. Profit! Anyone who puts profits above the health concerns for the general public should be cut off at the knees and then at the neck!

  • copperfoxf5

    Republication of the Seralini study seems like a double edged sword. From the republished article introduction, “The only aim is to enable scientific transparency and, based on this, a discussion which does not hide but aims to focus methodological controversies.” That, I believe, is a positive. What I’m wary of though is in which context this study will be referred to, and by which audience. If this article were cited in a context referring to methodology, fine. But what’s more likely is that this article will be cited in context of it’s conclusions of exposure to Roundup not by scientists or peers, but by agenda driven conspiracy theorists that are all too eager to, “Find the one article that disproves all the rest.”

    From a review released by the European Commission discussing GMO research, “For us, our planet is one large natural genetic pool where all living organisms continually activate and deactivate genomes in response to perceived environmental stresses…… So, for a scientist in genetics, the act of splicing to generate a transgenic organism is a modest step when compared to the genomic changes induced by all the ‘crosses’ and breeding events used in agriculture ….. it was a surprise for many scientists to discover that public opinion did not ‘buy into’ this line of thought.”

    That’s the bugger here, is public opinion and public perception. Public belief is not science. Fox News’ clips discussing polls saying that 1 in 4 Americans don’t believe climate change exists is a testament to that, as well as other statements already made in this comment thread speculating Roundup as being toxic or carcinogenic. Scientists underestimate what it means to “defend themselves” in terms of public opinion, because public opinion is not based on rational argument, intellectual rigor, and reproducible study. It’s based on emotion, hearsay, and conjecture. You can scrutinize the methodology of the Seralini study until you’re blue in the face. They only walk away with the part they do understand….. “Tumors seen in mice…..”

    There’s the old saying, “People fear what they don’t understand.” It’s true. When I scroll through comment threads discussing vaccine controversy, the comments that I see from the anti-vaccine camp are made by those who have virtually no formal knowledge or education in immunology and pathology. But they passionately and fervently believe that vaccines are dangerous so much that regardless of any educated comments made against their belief, they refuse to listen. And there are A LOT of people like that. The thing is that with as big a controversy as vaccination is at present, it’s still much easier for the overall public to understand vaccination and immunity than genetics and genetic engineering. You have that much more of the common man you have to convince, and you have to do it in a way that they can understand and that doesn’t frighten them. Personally, if I don’t understand something, I learn it. I have quite the varied background in scientific education to support that claim. What I fear is not what I don’t understand. What I fear is an ignorant mass that through opinion, popularity, and politics influences mankind’s well being. And that influence isn’t necessarily positive. How could it be when they don’t know what they’re talking about?

    • JuHoansi

      Translation: the public is stupid. We the technocratic elites know what’s best for everyone.

      • copperfoxf5

        Are you saying that these people know better?

        • JuHoansi

          Is that the conclusion you draw from what I said? Wow.

          • Derrick S.

            My point exactly!

      • Derrick S.

        Include yourself in that public group. Blessed are they who know what is best for them, for never shall their minds be terrorized! You do NOT know what is best for everyone (period). You may know what is best for you, either way, that is your responsibility. Idiot Savants such as yourself should not have the authority to make choices for others.
        Stay in your lab and do what you are told. Don’t think that because you can play Master Creator of your own little world in a lab that you are qualified to do so outside of the lab.

        • JuHoansi

          um…I was being sarcastic.

    • Derrick S.

      How about CHOICE? It comes down to CHOICE!

  • Freeballer

    I have no background in statistics or medicine, so I have to rely on the science to tell me if its safe or not… I believe, however, I have a finely honed b.s. detector… and it has been going off ever since I first read of this re-publishing on social media, and the last hour or two reading the abstract/conclusions and summaries on various sites..

    I think the retraction was perhaps a little too far, because its important to have all evidence available, pro/con. But I DO feel this paper should have some disclamers reg. its “scientific” accuracy. Nothing, so far, has indicated to me that this is nothing more than a re-hashing of the same findings as before.. And I haven’t seen any rigourous peer-review testing of said study… So I have to rely on the 2000+/- studies done around the world, 30% or so done independently from “big seed corperations”.

    Everytime skeptics, like me, try to bring evidence into this conversation we get immediately labeled as being on mosanto’s payroll.. Which is funny, to me, but sad since public perception counts more than evidence/facts. So many buy into propoganda and anti-gmo hysteria without actual proof

    • Jon Entine

      FYI, the retracted study was never pulled from databases. It was just labeled “retracted” but was available for anyone to read.

  • Peter Olins

    Good news: the retracted Seralini work needs to be accessible to the public, as an egregious example of flawed research, and flawed peer-review.

    However, this is NOT re-publication! The abstract summarizing the main conclusions of the paper was changed substantially. Since the main flaws of the paper were the study design and interpretation of the data, the abstract should have been republished verbatim. (Did the Springer editor forget to check the two versions? If not, why didn’t she explain why Seralini was allowed to change the abstract?)

    The original version of the article is still available on the Elsevier website, albeit with the word “RETRACTED” superimposed on every page, so what is the purpose of re-publishing? In addition, the copyright of the original version is held by Elsevier, so how come Springer is not infringing? Surely, Elesevier would not want to license the text to an outside publisher?

    Finally, the Seralini group claimed that it had a large amount of data that would not fit in it’s original publication: instead of rehashing old data, why wasn’t the paper re-worked, to include the expanded data-set?

  • Jean De Lapp

    I just have one question for the researcher in favor of GMO, glyphosate. Knowing that the opposition to this republished paper that has been peer reviewed, would they eat foods that were raised or grown with pesticides as round up and think it was safe to eat a food that has been poisoned with poison?

    • Jon Entine

      Glyphosate is a pesticide; genetic modification is a process of gene selection. They are not really related directly. They are linked in glyphosate tolerant crops, but that’s just a few of dozens of GM crops. The republished paper was NOT peer reviewed. Glyphosate is a pesticide but it is not more a “poison” than salt, which is far more toxic is a poison. There are many organic pesticides that are far more toxic than glyphosate, which is comparatively quite mild and one of the safest pesticides used in agriculture worldwide. Hope this clears up some of the scientific misunderstandings in your post.

      • Mlema

        Monsanto got in trouble for saying Roundup is safer than table salt. It’s just not true Jon so you’d best stop saying it. Roundup resistant plants were a good idea whose time has passed. Too much resistance, coupled with overuse and its negative effects on soil, amphibians, etc. should indicate it’s time to move on to new ways of thinking about agricultural pest management. That’s what the biotech industry has done. They now stack pesticide-resistant traits and the toxicity of our pesticides continues to grow, regardless of how relatively safe glyphosate might have been. It’s passe and just a distraction from the bigger problems in our agriculture today.

    • David Smith

      To answer your question – glyphosate has been shown to have effects at or below the NOAEL (No-observed-adverse-effect-level):
      Benedetti et al. (2004).The effects of sub-chronic exposure of Wistar rats to the herbicide Glyphosate-Biocarb. Toxicology Letters 153(2): 227–232

      El-Shenawy. (2009). Oxidative stress responses of rats exposed to Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology 28(3): 379–385

      Romano et al. (2012). Glyphosate impairs male offspring reproductive development by disrupting gonadotropin expression. Archives of Toxicology 86(4): 663-673.

      Chłopecka et al. (2014). Glyphosate affects the spontaneous motoric activity of intestine at very low doses – In vitro study. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology 113:25–30

      Roustan et al. (2014). Genotoxicity of mixtures of glyphosate and atrazine and their environmental transformation products before and after photoactivation. Chemosphere 108: 93–100

      • Peter Olins

        David, I’m a little puzzled by your list of references. Perhaps you were mistaken in your selection: two were in vitro studies and one involved intraperitoneal injection, so they are not relevant to NOEAL determination.

        I was only able to see the abstracts for Benedetti et al., and for Romano et al., so perhaps you could give us a little more detail on the studies, and tell us how the authors explained the difference between their work and other published research? Thanks.

    • Vm

      the republished paper was not really peer reviewed

      \Nature, however, reports that the journal’s editor-in-chief, Henner Hollert, communicated to them:

      “We were Springer Publishing’s first open access journal
      on the environment, and are a platform for discussion on science and regulation at a European and regional level.” ESEU conducted no scientific peer review, he adds, “because this had already been conductedby Food and Chemical Toxicology, and had concluded there had been no
      fraud nor misrepresentation.” The role of the three reviewers hired by ESEU was to check that there had been no change in the scientific content of the paper, Hollert adds.”

      So the paper was not re-peer-reviewed, despite Seralini’s claim. It was just republished, with the addition of more raw data and commentary by Seralini.\

  • Vm

    \Nature, however, reports that the journal’s editor-in-chief, Henner Hollert, communicated to them:

    “We were Springer Publishing’s first open access journal
    on the environment, and are a platform for discussion on science and regulation at a European and regional level.” ESEU conducted no scientific peer review, he adds, “because this had already been
    conducted by Food and Chemical Toxicology, and had concluded there had been no fraud nor misrepresentation.” The role of the three reviewers hired by ESEU was to check that there had been no change in the scientific content of the paper, Hollert adds.”

    So the paper was not re-peer-reviewed, despite Seralini’s claim. It
    was just republished, with the addition of more raw data and commentary by Seralini.\

  • Jack Harper

    Most of the responses from scientists listed above are gibberish.
    The controls and size of the group along with the type of rats used are consistent with Monsanto’s own research.
    So what is the real issue these clowns bring to the table???

    • Peter Olins

      Hi Jack,
      Have you read the original Hammond (Monsanto) and Seralini (retracted) papers?
      Seralini focuses on the development of tumors, which is not a meaningful endpoint for this strain of rats after 2 years, since we already know that this strain has a high propensity for tumor at an advanced age, and the detection of any difference in tumor development would require a much larger number of test animals. (It is totally inconceivable that Seralini would not have known this).

      Unlike Hammond, Seralini failed to present the typical toxicological endpoints (mean values, plus or minus standard deviation). All these data were obtained after 15 months of study, but no analysis was performed. Why? My hunch is that there were no significant effects, or they would have been presented—but perhaps I’m cynical. Instead, Seralini offered an unorthodox analysis, which, as far as I know, is useful for finding interesting trends, but is not amenable to a rigorous statistical analysis.

      “Clowns” is a distraction, but I’m sure a number of scientists on this forum might consider a dialog if you are willing to engage on a substantive level.

      I look forward to your response.

      • Mlema

        The study was retracted due to inconclusive findings. A first in the history of journal retractions. But the EFSA is funding a long-term cancer study and will use 50 rats. So hopefully we’ll find out, after all these years :) what the disposition of this issue is.

  • Jack Harper

    Roundup does not break down into an inert product.
    Wheat desicated with Roundup continues to kill the seed over months of winter storage
    Germination drops off dramatically over a 5 month period.

    • Peter Olins

      Hi Jack,
      I’m not clear what your point is, here.
      Assuming you are talking about wheat grown in N. America, according to an agronomist I talked to, the use of glyphosate to “desiccate” wheat is unusual here. Glyphosate is typically applied pre-planting, to remove weeds. Are you referring to a European country?
      Where are you getting your information? Let’s discuss.

      • Mlema

        Roundup (or glyphosate) is used to “dry-down” wheat prior to harvest/processing. That’s why non-organic whole wheat has high residues of this pesticide. If you’re going to eat whole wheat, eat organic. If you eat white wheat – much of the pesticide residue has been removed.

        • Peter Olins

          @Mlema—Can you show your source of information?
          How do you define “high residues”?

          • Mlema

            I’m looking at the FAO statistics from 2005. Of course, glyphosate use has only increased since then. And I would say that in the case of Roundup use on other crops, we can’t talk about glyphosate alone.

            The EPA has increased the acceptable limit of residues on food, and now in several states we have approved the use of glyphosate with 2,4D (and surfactants). Discussions about the toxicity of glyphosate are passe – it’s effectiveness is continually being reduced and we’re stacking it with more toxic pesticides. And it’s always contained surfactants.

            So, again, for those who eat whole wheat – avoid non-organic sources. If you buy non-organic wheat, then avoid whole wheat products. I’m offering this advice as a simple public service of sorts. It’s not good to eat Roundup – regardless of Monsanto’s claims. And people need to realize that just because we’re not growing GMO wheat doesn’t mean our wheat doesn’t have Roundup on it. Roundup is everywhere – lawns, schoolyards, foods, etc.

          • Mlema

            UK samples taken in 2011 found that in white there were 7 instances of residue out of 70, while in whole wheat there were 13 out of 35. It doesn’t reflect on amount, which of course is always considered “safe”. You can look at FAO statistics for actual measurements – although the most recent data seems to be from 2005. I’m not going to spend too much time on this because I already posted one reply and it disappeared. To me this is about the trend to increase pesticide (herbicide) use – we use Roundup on lawns, in parks, schoolyards, food crops, etc etc etc. We’re engineering resistance into more and more plants (Scott’s RR Bluegrass seed didn’t even go through APHIS review) It’s ubiquitous and isn’t as safe as we’ve been led to believe – due to “non-active” ingredients. And now, with resistance appearing more and more, we’re stacking the resistant trait with resistance to more toxic pesticides. Spraying it on wheat is just another way to sell it. I’m just trying to let people know – if you’re eating whole wheat to be more healthy, then you might consider sticking with organic, because that’s the only way to be sure it doesn’t include residues. Or – if you can’t afford organic, eat white. The hull is stripped so the residues are reduced. I don’t know if this is widely done in the US, but it might be. Who knows?

          • Mlema

            Not sure what’s going on Peter. I’ve posted 2 replies and they’ve both disappeared. Not sure if I should try again beyond this! I’ll see what happens this time!

      • Mlema

        Peter, my replies below keep disappearing, so I’ll try posting a reply here.

        UK samples taken in 2011 found that in white there were 7 instances of residue out of 70, while in whole wheat there were 13 out of 35. It doesn’t reflect on amount, which of course is always considered “safe”. You can look at FAO statistics for actual measurements – although the most recent data seems to be from 2005. I’m not going to spend too much time on this because I already posted one reply and it disappeared. To me this is about the trend to increase pesticide (herbicide) use – we use Roundup on lawns, in parks, schoolyards, food crops, etc etc etc. We’re engineering resistance into more and more plants (Scott’s RR Bluegrass seed didn’t even go through APHIS review) It’s ubiquitous and isn’t as safe as we’ve been led to believe – due to “non-active” ingredients. And now, with resistance appearing more and more, we’re stacking the resistant trait with resistance to more toxic pesticides. Spraying it on wheat is just another way to sell it. I’m just trying to let people know – if you’re eating whole wheat to be more healthy, then you might consider sticking with organic, because that’s the only way to be sure it doesn’t include residues. Or – if you can’t afford organic, eat white. The hull is stripped so the residues are reduced. I don’t know if this is widely done in the US, but it might be. Who knows?

  • Derrick S.

    What is amazing is that Seralini’s study was the same exact experiment that Monsanto did, with one exception. Monsanto’s study was a 90 day study. Seralini’s study was two years. The rats in Seralini’s study didn’t develop tumors until the fourth month of the study; one month longer than Monsanto’s study.
    Personally, I think another study needs to be done, and it should be done on humans. Since they are selling their GMO corn for human consumption, then why not study humans?
    The study should look at the relationship between the microRNA in the corn and that of the microRNA in our intestinal tract. This relationship determines the adjustments made to the digestive tract. Ultimately this alters our DNA. This area needs closer examination.
    I cannot believe that GMO Corn was released for human consumption without first doing exhaustive research for a five year period to ensure that it was safe. Then when you consider the fact that the right hand to the head of the FDA was previously the vice-president at Monsanto, and prior to that he was the head of the FDA roughly four administrations back.
    Then you need to consider the amount of money spent by Monsanto, Coca-Cola, Dow Elanco and others to block food labeling, they could’ve paid for the relabeling of products more than once already. Besides, the First Lady, Obama, changed the nutrition label requirements just two or three years ago. Sounds like a perfect time to add the tiny words, “GMO” or “NON GMO” to the labels of all products containing GE ingredients.
    Research or no research, the public has a right to know what is in the food they eat and to have the choice to decide whether to feed their families foods containing GMOs.
    It is beyond obvious when companies in the food industry spend the amount of money to block labeling that they have, but I guess most of the public is either to stupid or will not take any concern until they have a serious medical condition themselves. Someone needs to do the study exactly the same way that Monsanto conducted their study, but it needs to be extended because 90 days is a joke. Look at all of the research conducted on cigarettes and tobacco with relation to cancer. Remember all the arguments about whether or not it caused cancer? Remember the lawsuits that followed? Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and the rest of the companies involved in the BioAg industry are no different from RJR, Phillip-Morris and the other tobacco companies. GREEDY!
    Do the research and prove them wrong so that the lawsuits can begin against not only the BioAg companies, but the U.S. government for negligence caused from them authorizing sales to the public and their signing of the Monsanto Protection Act, not to mention the State Department pushing the sale of their product to foreign governments. You would think the State Department was being paid a commission by Monsanto for pushing their products. Oh yeah, I remember when Donald Rumsfeld was a previous board member for Monsanto.
    It is no wonder that it is brushed under the rug.
    Out of site, out of mind! Meanwhile, we have all the desease epidemics with no cures. Also not surprising since these same BioAg companies are also involved in the drug industry. They’re not looking for a cure. I believe they have created much of the disease and have also created the treatments to babysit those diseases, without looking for a cure. For anyone with even a tiny bit of common sense and an understanding of human nature, and who is not a participant in the daily rat race, it is as simple as 2+2=4.
    So let’s do the proper research once more to prove to the paid or jealous naysayers what the facts are pertaining to GMO Corn, followed by studies on all other GMO products. When, I repeat when it is proven to be a health hazard, then you need not worry about the events to follow–the public will take care of the details, trust me!

    • Peter Olins

      Sorry, Derrick, but you obviously have not actually read the relevant papers: Seralini was not a simple “repeat”. Once you read them, if you still stand by your argument, then please come back to discuss the details.

  • Mlema

    Peter Olins – none of my replies to you here or on the other page are posting. If this comment posts I’ll try posting my replies as new comments

    • Mlema

      Peter Olins:
      UK samples taken in 2011 found that in white there were 7 instances of residue out of 70, while in whole wheat there were 13 out of 35. It doesn’t reflect on amount, which of course is always considered “safe”. You can look at FAO statistics for actual measurements – although the most recent data seems to be from 2005. I’m not going to spend too much time on this because I already posted one reply and it disappeared. To me this is about the trend to increase pesticide (herbicide) use – we use Roundup on lawns, in parks, schoolyards, food crops, etc etc etc. We’re engineering resistance into more and more plants (Scott’s RR Bluegrass seed didn’t even go through APHIS review) It’s ubiquitous and isn’t as safe as we’ve been led to believe – due to “non-active” ingredients. And now, with resistance appearing more and more, we’re stacking the resistant trait with resistance to more toxic pesticides. Spraying it on wheat is just another way to sell it. I’m just trying to let people know – if you’re eating whole wheat to be more healthy, then you might consider sticking with organic, because that’s the only way to be sure it doesn’t include residues. Or – if you can’t afford organic, eat white. The hull is stripped so the residues are reduced. I don’t know if this is widely done in the US, but it might be. Who knows?

      • Peter Olins

        @Mlema—“spraying on wheat” is a gross oversimplification—but a popular recent soundbite. In the U.S., glyphosate is primarily used to kill weeds PRIOR to wheat seedling emergence. In some parts of the world with wetter climates it is also sometimes sprayed pre-harvest (as are other herbicides, for that matter).

        You cannot sidestep the questions of potency and dose. Detecting something—anything—in a food is not a predictor of safety. What matters is the inherent toxicity plus the level of exposure.

        Personally, I’m much more concerned about traces of highly potent mycotoxins—we hardly hear anything about these, though, probably because there “natural”. Mycotoxins are a known risk to human health worldwide.

        • Mlema

          There are conflicting scientific opinions on how much glyphosate is safe. And safe for who? Little children? Those with kidney or liver disease? And since there’s no way to know how much is on any given food that’s been sprayed – I say avoid it if you can. It doesn’t matter if glyphosate is relatively safe, at some level to some person it won’t be. And since we’re continually increasing the amount in our food and environment – the number of those “some persons” is going to increase. Also, it kills amphibians – and not just in water but in the fields. And its use has reduced border plants which harbor beneficial insects. Also, Roundup negatively impacts mycorrhizal fungi and earthworms.

          Why is it important to you that we continue to increase the use of Roundup/Glyphosate?

        • Mlema

          Peter, I replied to your question/comment on the other spot where we were discussing the same thing. I don’t know why my responses were moving all over the discussion. Sorry.

          Basically, the questions of potency and dose are irrelevant to people who are trying to avoid pesticide residues for reasons of: compromised immune system, liver or kidney failure, small children, etc.

          Non-organic whole wheat products have more glyphosate residue than organic. White wheat products have less residue. Why is that a problem? Why do you want people to choose to eat residues or not even know they’re there? If you want to talk about toxicity and dose, then be my guest – there are probably many people who will see it your way and decide they’re healthy and don’t need to worry about such things. to each his own – but there are environmental concerns with Roundup too.

          And Roundup by itself is passe now. We have GE crops resistant to glyphosate, AND 2,4D, or dicamba. We’ve got to keep up here! ;)

        • Mlema

          Peter, I have replied to this comment but my replies don’t seem to post where I make them. You may find my replies (in duplicate or triplicate) elsewhere. This one was posted in reply to your comment that began “@Mlema- “spraying on wheat”..
          we’ll see where it ends up

  • Mlema

    Are my comments being removed from this page?

  • Wackes Seppi
    • Peter Olins

      Relying on my rusty French plus Google Translate, it appears that the French Food Safety Agency has concluded that the republished paper does not change the original conclusion that NO significant effects were seen after consumption of GM feed or Roundup.

      There was also discussion of the apparent selective disclosure of data. (Please correct me if I missed something).

  • DeSwiss

    Any scientist who criticizes Séralini and ignores the total lack of any proof of MONSANTO’s claims is a charlatan of the first water and should turn in his/her microscope immediately and without delay.

    Genetic literacy my Aunt Minnie……