• France edition
 
European agency rejects GMO rat tumours
Photo: Sarah Fleming

European agency rejects GMO rat tumours

Published: 28 Nov 2012 19:33 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Nov 2012 19:33 GMT+01:00

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said the research by a team led by Gilles-Eric Seralini at France's University of Caen suffered from "serious defects" in design and methodology.

Seralini's team issued a report in September concluding that rats developed tumours after being fed on genetically modified corn developed by US agribusiness giant Monsanto or exposed to one of the company's weedkillers used with the corn strain and containing glyphosate.

But the EFSA said the shortcoming in the team's scientific standards mean "it is not possible to draw valid conclusions about the occurrence of tumours in the rats tested."

The authority, which reviews the use and authorisation of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), added that it "finds there is no need to re-examine its previous safety evaluations of NK603," maize genetically modified by Monsanto.

That same conclusion had been reached in separate and independent assessments of Seralini's work carried out in six European Union nations, the agency added.

The French study's conclusions, illustrated by horrific images of cancer-ridden rats, caused worldwide alarm.

NK603 is resistant to the Monsanto herbicide Roundup, enabling farmers to use the weedkiller just once in the crop's life-cycle and make substantial savings.

Seralini and his team said their experiment in GM food was the first to follow rats through their lifespan, as opposed to just 90 days.

But many experts quickly questioned the experiment's methodology, results and relevance to humans.

The EU agency said its final assessment took into consideration evaluations carried out in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

"EFSA noted the emergence of a broad European consensus," it said, stating that the six countries too found Seralini's conclusions "were not supported by the data presented in the study."

It listed weaknesses of the French study as "unclear study objectives, the low number of rats used in each treatment group, a lack of detail on the feed and treatment formulation, key information missing on the statistical methods employed."

In a first response last month, EFSA dubbed Seralini's study "inadequate" and urged him to provide additional information before a second, final review was completed.

But the scientist responded that he would not give EFSA additional information until it first detailed the basis of its own assessment.

"It is absolutely scandalous that (EFSA) keeps secret the information on which they based their evaluation" of NK603 and the pesticide, he said at the time.

"In any event, we will not give them anything," Seralini told AFP.

"We will put the information in the public domain when they do,"

His research group, Criigen, this month issued a list of almost 200 scientists from more than 30 countries who back the GMO study.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The Local list
The best expressions in French for having sex
From sauce pans to legs of lam: The top 15 expressions in French for having sex. Photo: Shutterstock

The best expressions in French for having sex

The French language is famous for being the language of love and it's also well known for its vast array of colourful idioms and expressions. So we’ve combined the two and picked out 15 of the best French "sexpressions" for "rumpty pumpty" a la française. READ  

Netflix: Service to launch in France in September
Netflix is set to launch in France this September. Photo: Jason Merritt/AFP

Netflix: Service to launch in France in September

We knew American video streaming service Netflix was coming to France, but now we finally have a month. The launch is set for September, but rumors are still flying around online about how much the service will cost per month. READ  

Video preview
Tour de France stage 16: Pyrenees await riders
Stage 16 of the 2014 Tour de France takes the riders into the Pyrenees. Image: LeTour.fr

Tour de France stage 16: Pyrenees await riders

The Pyrenees await the riders on stage 16 of the 2014 Tour de France on Tuesday. Can anyone threaten the lead of Italian Vincenzo Nibali? Here's a video preview of the day's route. READ  

French police bust alleged jihad recruiters
Police arrested dismantled a suspected terror cell in southern France (Frank Perry/AFP)

French police bust alleged jihad recruiters

Three people suspected of recruiting fighters for the Syrian civil war and plotting 'violent acts' were arrested early on Tuesday in France. The raid comes as France tries to stem the number of its residents fighting 'holy war' abroad. READ  

France's 'most notorious' prison closes for revamp
Paris's notorious La Sante prison has closed for an overhaul. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

France's 'most notorious' prison closes for revamp

France’s most notorious prison, and the only one in Paris city limits, has closed its doors for a massive multi-year renovation. La Sante has held some of France’s most famous crooks, but its inhumane conditions also became part of the effort to reform France's prison system. READ  

Paris: Street fishing on Seine snares new fans
Fancy fishing in the Seine? Apparently it's not as dirty as you might think. Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP

Paris: Street fishing on Seine snares new fans

Thought the waters of the Seine were too dirty to support any living creature? Think again. Apparently it's bursting with fish and it's leading to a new waver of "street fishers". READ  

Mistral deal with Russia is 'unthinkable': Cameron
UK Prime Minister David Cameron says selling warships to Russia is "unthinkable". Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP

Mistral deal with Russia is 'unthinkable': Cameron

The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has upped the pressure on France to pull out of its €1.2 billion deal with Russia to sell two warships, saying pressing ahead with the contract would be “unthinkable” in Britain after the downing of flight MH17. READ  

Hollande calls for end to Gaza suffering
French President François Hollande is calling for urgent action to stop the Gaza bloodshed. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

Hollande calls for end to Gaza suffering

French President François Hollande called on Monday for "everything" possible to be done in order to stop the civilian suffering in Gaza due to an Israeli bombing campaign and ground attack. READ  

Opinion - Banning protests
'France's protest ban will only lead to more trouble'
Freedom must prevail - the government must allow pro-Palestinian demonstrations to take place. Photo: AFP

'France's protest ban will only lead to more trouble'

After three banned pro-Palestinian protests ended in full scale riots, the French government must now decide whether to allow another demo to go ahead on Saturday. The head of the French League of Human Rights tells The Local it would be major mistake to ban it. READ  

Frenchwoman stung with €500 fine for feeding cats
A Frenchwoman was slapped with a stiff fine for feeding cats that weren't hers. Photo: Bev Goodwin/Flickr

Frenchwoman stung with €500 fine for feeding cats

An elderly Frenchwoman insisted this week's she's no criminal after being hit with a €500 fine for feeding the stray cats in her neighborhood. The court, which adhered to the strict rules of French law surrounding feeding stray animals, clearly saw it differently. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
IN IMAGES: Two Paris anti-Israel demos descend into violence
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Travel
Sun's up: Temperatures in parts of France could hit 40°C
National
Monkey slur lands ex-National Front member with hefty jail sentence
National
VIDEO: Jewish 'ultras' and anti-Israel mob in running street battle in Paris
International
Middle East crisis: 'Jews in France are stand-ins for Israeli targets'
Culture
IN PICTURES: Bastille Day fireworks mark centenary of the 'Great War'
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'I've never seen scenes like it' - Tour de France winner on the UK crowds
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Travel
Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Paris
Gallery
Like cycling? Love France? See the top ten best cycling routes in France
International
'They think beer is a vegetable': What the French really think of Germans
National
Sarkozy's dream of a 2017 comeback is not dead yet
Gallery
Ten reasons why France is better than Germany (we're not talking football)
Gallery
Paris in Summer: Ten things to do on a shoestring
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se