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Scientists criticize French study of GMO corn

September 20th, 2012

From Green Right Now Reports

Research by French scientists showing that rats fed GMO corn developed tumors and died prematurely has prompted the French government to call for additional investigation of genetically modified crops and to continue its ban on GE agriculture.

But the study came in for criticism from scientists in other countries shortly after it was published Wednesday in Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Tom Sanders, head of nutritional research at King’s College London, found fault with the study design, telling Reuters that the strain of rat the French team used gets breast tumors easily. Sanders also said that the rats could have become ill from other causes, such as overeating or a hormone imbalance caused by fungus in the feed.

Another critic interviewed by Reuters, Mark Tester, a research professor at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics at the University of Adelaide, said he finds the study outcomes implausible because no prior studies have uncovered such devastating damage from GMOs.

“If the effects are as big as purported, and if the work really is relevant to humans, why aren’t the North Americans dropping like flies?” he asked.

The French researchers fed the rats a ration of GMO-corn made by Monsanto for two years, covering the approximate life span of the laboratory animals. They also dosed another group of rats with water with traces of RoundUp, replicating a level considered safe by the U.S. EPA.

They reported that overall 50 percent of male and 70 percent of female rats died prematurely — the female rats mainly of mammary tumors and the male rats of liver and kidney failure — compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group.

Groups that oppose GMOs hailed the study as one of the longest term, if not the longest term study of the effects of eating genetically modified food.

Several other animal studies involving genetically modified foods have shown negative outcomes, according to the Institute for Responsible Technology and the Pesticide Action Network. Both groups track studies and problems with GMOs and are campaigning for Proposition 37 in California, which would require labeling of GM foods in the U.S.

Read more about the French study here.

Read more about the move for labeling in California at Right to Know.

 


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