After making his own raw data public, Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini calls for transparency of the industry tests performed in support of regulatory authorisations of GMOs and pesticides.
Prof Séralini has stated elsewhere that no blood analyses on animals fed GMOs are made public by industry, though EFSA releases other safety data submitted by industry on request. Toxicity tests on pesticides are kept secret under commercial confidentiality agreements with regulators.
As is clear from the article below, once again the French press has no trouble grasping what much of the English-speaking press cannot: that Séralini's study was a sound and detailed chronic toxicity study, not a failed cancer study.
New charge against Roundup herbicide and GM maize by Prof Séralini
Midi Libre, 24 June 2014
English translation of French original article by Claire Robinson
The French Professor Séralini, author of a controversial study on the toxicity of two Monsanto products, Roundup and GMO corn, has not retired from the fray: he has re-published his study in a scientific journal and calls for more transparency over tests performed for regulatory authorisation.
"We had offers from five journal editors to republish the study and we chose Environmental Sciences Europe (published by Springer) because the journal is open source, which will make available the raw data to the scientific community," Gilles-Eric Séralini told the press on Tuesday, six months after the retraction of the study by another publication which judged it insufficiently conclusive. The study, according to Séralini's team, demonstrates chronic toxicity in rats from the world's best-selling herbicide, Roundup, and to a lesser extent from NK603 maize, two products manufactured by the American company Monsanto.
"Chronic toxicity study"
"Our work shows severe disturbances in the liver, kidney and sexual hormones and the development of mammary tumours" in rats fed with GM maize NK603 and water containing Roundup, he stated. "Our work is not a carcinogenicity but a chronic toxicity study," insisted the researcher in response to criticisms of his method. The type and number of rats used, one of the main attacks against his study "is consistent with toxicology studies conducted around the world, including by industry," he argued.
Enriched with new statistical analyses, the new article is based on the same data as the publication of 2012. The study in question was first published in 2012 in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, but was retracted in November 2013, on the basis of questions about the methodology. On Tuesday, Professor Séralini again denounced the coincidence of the retraction and the arrival onto the journal's editorial board of Richard Goodman, "a biologist who worked for several years at Monsanto". "Most of our critics have links with the biotech industry," accused the biologist from the University of Caen, highlighting the publication of the raw data of his work.
"To allow a rational discussion"
"We would like to see the same [transparency] from industry," he has said. "But it is not so, the opacity of industrial data is today completely abnormal, it is a scientific anomaly," he said. Winfried Schröder, editor of the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, upon republishing the article, said in a statement that she wished to "enable a rational discussion" on the work. Monsanto said Tuesday that "there was nothing new". For the company, it is "an attempt to republish a work already retracted by editors," knowing that "official agencies, including those of France, have stressed that the study (...) did not allow conclusions to be made. "
The findings of the study had in fact been rejected by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and the National Agency for Food Safety (ANSES) in France. But they have nurtured a debate on an unprecedented scale on the protocols for testing GMOs and on the knowledge gaps on the long-term toxicity of pesticides and GMOs resistant to these pesticides. Calls for tenders have since been launched by EFSA and ANSES to conduct studies longer than three months, which are almost non-existent today. Professor Séralini on Tuesday criticized the protocols used by these agencies as "too limited in time" and focused "on the carcinogenicity and not on the overall long-term toxicity."
On behalf of the NGO Sciences Citoyennes, geneticist Christian Velot on Tuesday welcomed the new publication: "This is a victory for science, and the reparation of an injustice," he said, lamenting that "industry studies such as those of Monsanto are not accessible". François Veillerette of Générations Futures also criticized the "placing on the market of products whose long-term toxicity has not been evaluated." "This is a huge void in European legislation," he said.