Gilles-Eric Séralini, professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen in France, conducted one of the most controversial studies on genetically modified foods in history. His 2012 research linked a strain of Monsanto’s GMO corn (NK603) and the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup used on the corn, to serious illnesses and cancer (in rats).
The biotech industry along with many in the scientific community fiercely rejected the research, as did the European Food Safety Authority and eventually the journal that published the research, Food and Chemical Toxicology.
The journal’s editor, Dr. Wallace Hayes, along with the FCT board apparently conducted an investigation into the study, and in November of last year, wrote to Séralini with the recommendation that the article be formally withdrawn from the publication.
Read more about the study’s retraction
Now, the publication has published data that used the same research methods as Séralini’s study on genetically modified rice, but found the genetically modified rice to be safe. Séralini and his team suggest this is a blatant double standard by the publication, one being influenced by the biotech industry. According to Food Navigator, Séralini suggests that the decision to retract his paper-a move that’s quite rare in the industry-was done so just several months after a former Monsanto employee joined the journal as the “editor for biotechnology.”
In his ‘right to reply’ article published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, Séralini stated: “We are forced to conclude that the decision to withdraw our paper was based on unscientific double standards applied by the editor.
“These double standards can only be explained by pressure from the GMO and agrochemical industry to force acceptance of GMOs and Roundup,” he wrote.
“Worse, this pro-industry bias also affects regulatory authorities, such as EFSA…which gives favourable opinions on risky products based on mediocre studies commissioned by the companies wishing to commercialize the products, as well as systematically dismissing the findings of independent scientists which cast doubt on their safety,” Séralini wrote, adding, “economic interest has been given precedence over public health.”
Séralini says that the new research published by Food and Chemical Toxicology used the same methods as were employed in Séralini’s original study-and criticized by the journal-creating a double standard.
“We are skeptical about the rationale given to retract our paper, in light of FCT’s recent publication of another study which, like ours, investigated the potential chronic effects of consumption of genetically modified crops,” wrote Séralini and his research colleagues.
But according to Séralini, the new research found that the genetically modified crop it tested (an insecticide-producing rice), was “as safe and nutritious as conventional rice,” he wrote. “Yet according to [FCT’s] criteria, it is at least as inconclusive as our study.”