Defend Seralini and transparency in risk assessment
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Peter Saunders
ISIS Report, 26 April 2010
Gilles-Eric Séralini, professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen in France, and president of the scientific council for independent research on genetic engineering (CRIIGEN), is among the world's leading researchers into the risks of GMOs. He has been an expert adviser to the French government (1998-2007) and the European Union at the World Trade Organization and the Council of Ministers on GMOs (2003, 2008), and recipient of the Order of Merit of France for his scientific career (2008). The work of his research team appears regularly in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is highly regarded within the scientific community. His critique of the dossier submitted by Monsanto's subsidiary in India for commercial growing of 'Bt Brinjal' (GM egg plant) played an important part in persuading the Indian Environment Minister to impose a moratorium  Bt Brinjal Halted (SiS 46).
Séralini and his colleagues recently performed a thorough re-analysis of data submitted by Monsanto to obtain commercial approval in Europe for three GM maize lines, MON 863, MON 810, NK603. They concluded that , "these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded."
Their conclusions corroborate the results of practically all studies carried out by scientists independent of the biotech industry, as well as the experience of farmers and workers in the field that ISIS has reported since 1999 (for a recent summary see  GM is Dangerous and Futile, SiS 40).
These findings call into question the validity of the commercial approval granted by the European Commission and the favourable opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), long criticised for its bias in favour of the biotech industry  GM Food Nightmare Unfolding in the Regulatory Sham (ISIS scientific publication). Not surprisingly, the findings of Séralini and his colleagues are dismissed by Monsanto, EFSA as well as the Food Safety Authority of Australia and New Zealand (FSAANZ, also criticised for its pro-industry stance).
However, Séralini is now the target of a concerted campaign to vilify and discredit him, involving not just Monsanto, EFSA and FSAANZ, but also scientific societies representing biotechnology in France: the French Association of Plant Biotechnology and the French High Counsel on Biotechnology. This seriously threatens his funding to continue research for public good and also his job.
A large number of academics, professors and researchers have signed up to protest against the defamation and victimisation of Séralini, and to defend openness and transparency in the risk assessment of GMOs.
The protest is being organised by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) http://www.ensser.org/. They have produced a letter and Appendix with full details.
1. Ho MW. Bt brinjal halted but fight against GM neo-colonialism continues. Science in Society 46 (to appear).
2. De VendÃ³mois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D and Séralini G-E. A comparison of the effects of three GM corn varieties on mammalian health. Int J Biol Sci 2009, 5, 706-26.
3. Ho MW. GM is dangerous and futile. Science in Society 40, 4-8, 2008.
4. Ho MW, Cummins J and Saunders PT. GM food nightmare unfolding in the regulatory sham. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 2007, 19, 66-77.