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An arresting but widely criticized study that stoked fears about genetically modified foods (GMOs) was retracted Thursday.
The move was met with relief by scientists who heaped scorn on the French study after it was published last year. The study claimed a steady diet of genetically modified corn caused tumours in rats.
But observers say the damage will be hard to undo.
The retraction is “good news,” says biologist Robert Wager, at Vancouver Island University, who objected to the study from the outset. But he says “it’s worrisome it took over a year for the journal to do the right thing.”
It’s worrisome it took over a year for the journal to do the right thing
He predicts Gilles-Eric Seralini, of the University of Caen who led the study, will now be viewed as a martyr by believers in the dangers of GM crops and food. “The power of pseudo-science to generate fear must not be underestimated,” said Wager. “Once instilled, facts rarely dissipate that fear.”
The French study, published in journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, made headlines around the world a year ago. It claimed to have found evidence that rats fed a diet of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, or given water containing Roundup at levels permitted in the United States died earlier than those on a standard diet. It also said rats on the GM diet suffered from tumours, as well as severe liver and kidney damage.
Read more here at the National Post
It claimed to have found evidence that rats fed a diet of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, or given water containing Roundup at levels permitted in the United States died earlier than those on a standard diet
Given the known high incidence of tumors in the Sprague-Dawley rat, normal
variability cannot be excluded as the cause of the higher mortality and incidence observed in the
Ultimately, the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive, and therefore do not
reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology.
However, this clearly greatly enhances control variability
and heightens the risk of false negative findings (Cuffe, 2011). It is
now established that this concept should be used with caution.
There are several reasons for this. Control diets for rats are generally
not monitored, neither for pesticides (Hayes, 2004), nor for
chemicals leaching from cages or other environmental sources
(Howdeshell et al., 2003). This artificially enhances background effects.
The supplier even recognizes that their historical data come
from rats potentially fed GMOs since this was not controlled for
(Harlan communication), except in our experiment. Thus, it was
not appropriate for us to use historical control data. This is also
the reason why we did not use reference groups fed different
non-substantially equivalent diets, as they increase the standard
deviation of the control groups, hiding differential effects due to
Seralini and his team remain unrepentant, and allege that the retraction derives from the journal’s editorial appointment of biologist Richard Goodman, who previously worked for biotechnology giant Monsanto for seven years.
If GMO is harmless why the fight to stop labeling?
Just like immunization fear mongering, climate change, and some other push button topics, the retraction here will likely do very little to assuage protests against, and resistance to the implementation or acceptance of GMO foods.
Irrational people do not respond to rational argument.
I think in all likelihood I'm just getting old and not keeping up.edit on 29-11-2013 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)
I never did understand what kind of point they thought they could make by feeding strait roundup to them in water. Now it comes out the entire study was hogwash. Like I said I am not surprised.
edit on 29-11-2013 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)
All I ask is for a choice to know whether or not what I buy has GMO food in it! Strikes me as quite odd that a product that is deemed to be so safe and the companies that back it are willing to spend so much money on preventing people like me from buying a product that does not contain something I willfully choose not to eat.....
There are many other studies out there. Just because one has come out as being false, does not make it true that GMO's are safe and healthy!
Those whom think it is safe, eat it! I would just like to have a simple choice as to whether or not I eat a food product manufactured by a company whom is most know for producing poisons! (Agent Orange)
I suppose the squirrels are in on it as well?
I don't think either side knows the truth about GMO's and its effects yet. All I want is for everything to be labelled and let the public make the decision for themselves. If GMO is harmless why the fight to stop labeling?
The move was met with relief by scientists who heaped scorn on the French study after it was published last year.
Just a quick question. What exactly was nature doing wrong?