Reaction to retraction of controversial Séralini GM study

Perhaps the single most visible scientific study used to demonstrate possible health risks associated with consuming food produced by or containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, has been retracted. Though the study has been officially dismissed, it will be difficult to undo the damage in the minds of consumers. Some commentary for consideration:

Does this retracted study mean Monsanto foods are safe?

The infamous and controversial Seralini study appeared to show that rats fed two Monsanto products — GMO Roundup-tolerant corn and a Roundup herbicide — developed massive tumours. Sensational images swept the media by storm and infuriated consumers. Then the rest of the scientific community began to weigh in. 

Unfortunately for Seralini, numerous independent researchers from academic labs and international consumer safety institutions lined up against his interpretation of the results and the design of the experiment. They warned that the flawed study added no value to the discussion of health risks and GMO foods.

While the study has now been officially dismissed, it will be difficult to undo the damage in the minds of consumers. That got me thinking: What good is retracting a study if we don’t take advantage of the opportunity to learn from it? Let’s examine why the study was flawed, reiterate the importance of obtaining the approval of the scientific community, and discuss what it means and doesn’t mean for Monsanto products and GMO foods…..

The Motley Fool: Read the full article

Smelling a rat

Genetically modified maize causes cancer: that was the gist of one of the most controversial studies in recent memory, published in September 2012 by Food and Chemical Toxicology. Well, actually, it doesn’t.

On November 28th the journal retracted it. This followed criticism that the rats used in the experiment were prone to cancer anyway; that the experimental protocol used could not distinguish tumours which might have been caused by GM food from those that were spontaneous (it had been set up to investigate a different question, and thus included too few animals); and that the authors offered no mechanism by which GM food could cause cancer.

It would be too much to say that GM foods have thereby been proven safe. But no other study has found health risks in mammals from eating them…..

The Economist: Read the full article

Retractions are always interesting…

I know some very good scientists who have retracted papers merely because they couldn’t replicate the results, and they grew worried that something was wrong. That’s how science should work: rather than publish something erroneous, most scientists will admit their errors and at least issue a correction, or else retract the paper entirely. Obviously, Seralini has no plans to do this.

As his actions after the paper’s publication demonstrated, his intent in publishing this paper was to make a political point, not a scientific one. He distorted his findings in the paper itself, overstating his results with insufficient statistical evidence, and more so in statements to the press…..

Forbes: Read the full article

Retracted French research study won’t stop GM haters

French scientist/researcher Gilles-Eric Séralini’s should never get another dime of grant money now that his questionable research linking GM maize (corn) to tumours and organ failure has been yanked by Food and Chemical Toxicity, one of the world’s most prestigious science journals.

It was Seralini’s revelations of tumors and failing organs in rats fed GM corn that pushed the global anti-GM foods cartel into over-the-top, emotionally-driven opposition, fueled by an accommodating media that dutifully conveyed their every news release and protest to the public at large.

The irony, and this is just my take, is that this rejection will mean absolutely nothing to the activists. They will carry on their anti-GM fury as if nothing happened to cast doubt on their cause du jour. In fact, they will place the blame squarely on the much-respected journal: ‘They’re wrong, we’re right, the resistance continues.’

They will do this until the public itself says ‘enough!’ and stops supporting these clowns. I’m already on record, GM labelling does not bother me, what bothers me is when the cartels start trying to scare us with references to cancer and dying from eating GM foods and ingredients. Without a shred of evidence.

Bob Messenger, foremost US food industry commentator, editor of The Morning Cup