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Article published the Thursday 20 September 2012 - Latest update : Friday 28 September 2012

Monsanto GM maize may face Europe ban after French study links to cancer

Rats that had undergone the Caen University tests


France will ask for a Europe-wide ban on a genetically modified maize developed by US agribusiness Monsanto if the findings of tests made public Wednesday prove to be true. The study found that rats fed on the corn for two years developed tumours the size of ping-pong balls, liver damage and digestive problems.

France will call for a ban “at a European level” if the national health agency (Anses) backs up the findings of the study by French scientist Gilles-Eric Seralini, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told an audience in the Burgundy city of Dijon on Thursday.

And a communiqué from Agriculture Minister Stéphane Foll, Ecology Minister Delphine Batho and Health Minister Marisol Touraine said that Paris may demand a ban on the import of Monsanto’s NK603 corn, the subject of the tests.

The question will also be taken to the European Union’s Food Safety Agency, which green campaigners have often accused of conflict of interest because several members are alleged to be connected to seed companies.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, found that rats fed on a diet of 33 per cent NK603 corn and others exposed to Roundup, the weedkiller used with it, developed tumours, liver damage and digestive problems.

Premature deaths and sickness were particularly prevalent among females.

While previous studies have usually lasted only about three months, Seralini’s lasted two years, the average rat’s lifespan, and the illnesses developed later in the period covered.

NK603 is a type of corn, or maize, that has been engineered to make it resistant to the herbicide Roundup, which is also manufactured by Monsanto, and is used by farmers to maximise yields.

It can be imported but not grown in Europe.

Only Monsanto's MON810 transgenic corn and BASF's Amflora potato can be grown in the European Union.

France, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg and Romania have outlawed the growing of MON810 on their territory.

Monsanto said it was “too soon” to comment when the findings were made public but some of Seralini’s colleagues criticised him for working with journalists to ensure that they were covered in the media before his peers had had time to examine them.

Gilles-Eric Seralini, who works at the University of Caen in Normandy, has publicly opposed GM agriculture for some time and often found himself in a minority when he sat on a government committee examining them.

His study cost three million euros, he says, and was funded by and anti-GM campaign, Criigen, the Charles Mayer Foundation and Ceres, a group formed by major retailers.

tags: Agriculture - Cancer - Disease - Farming - Food - GMO - Health - Illness - Maize - Monsanto - Science
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Comments (5)

Terribly badly done study

This is a terrible study. There are a number of problems with it, and its results should NOT be considered valid.

See here for details for example:

Hopefully the ANSES will call the bullshit before anything is done with it, but I wish Ayrault hadn't made any public comment on this... (Ahhh science literacy...)

Monsano GM

I'm glad that a GOVERNMENT is finally interveining with the poisoning of our human race since the U.S. Government refuses to do ANYTHING about it. As a matter of fact, they fully support it and fund it.

Follow the Money

Following the money is usually a good first step because it can give you an idea of who has what to gain or to lose. Monsanto is looking to get a monopoly on agriculural foods/seeds and I believe that any kind of monopoly is bad (except maybe the boardgame)On the other hand this lengthy study was funded by an anti-GM campaign among others. I have seen other studies from non biased origins showing infertility, organ failure and cancer in tests involving GM. Seralini has published in a peer-reviewed journal so his work can be examined, challeneged or proven. I'm hoping Europe bans GM until each type can be properly openly and independantly tested. When it comes to something that affects us all, our food supply, we should be very careful not to cause undue risk/harm to people.

I am not a fan of Monsonto.

I am not a fan of Monsonto. But this ban would be a travesty since it is based on some of the worst "science" I have seen in while. I doubt the results will be replicated.

worst science?

Please explain "worst science" then explain "best science"?

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