The notorious Seralini rat study continues to stir impassioned argument — not over whether Seralini’s findings were valid or his study was a good one, but over whether the journal it was published in was justified in retracting the paper completely.
The Hastings Center for Bioethics published an editorial last month arguing that the retraction was a mistake. Here, Marc Brazeau of the REALFOOD.ORG blog takes critics of the retraction to task.
As far as [the] disagreement goes, let me start by stating as clearly as I can what I believe about the retraction.
1. The retraction was justified by a number of Séralini’s actions. Those included his failure to disclose funding conflicts of interest, his decision not to euthanize tumor riddled rats, the clear and confident conclusion that were drawn in the discussion section of the paper were unsupported by the inconclusive data making the paper unreliable. Clouding the waters further were his press embargo of the paper, the decision to include misleading pictures of the rats, and timing the release of the paper with the release of his book.
2. The [journal’s] written text did not provide sufficient justification of the retraction. That could be seen as an ethical lapse. It certainly was unhelpful in it’s lack of clarity. It was likely a legal strategy to minimize risk in litigation.
3. The retraction was possibly politically motivated. The likely motivation was rescuing the journal’s reputation from the harm that Séralini had caused.
4. The assertion that the retraction was motivated by industry pressure is lazy, irresponsible and unsupported by the evidence for reasons that I stated originally and will explain further.
Read the full, original article: SHERMAN AND FUGH-BERMAN RESPOND