NOTE: Recently a statement was released on behalf of six French Academies of Sciences dismissing the Seralini study as a "scientific non-event." However, it was unsigned, and the renowned French statistician Paul Deheuvels, himself a member of the Academy of Sciences, was among those who rejected it as unrepresentative and flawed.
Deheuvels wrote, "[A] group of experts was convened in an emergency, we do not know by whom, no one knows how, with a total lack of transparency in the selection of its members... These people have seen fit to write in a very short space of time an opinion highly critical of this study. They cannot claim to embody the opinion of the entire French scientific world, and it would be a crime to suggest that they do."
Now the French journalist Guillaume Malaurie has managed to identify some of the tiny clique who helped produce the academies' statement. They include Georges Pelletier who was involved in the regulatory approval of Monsanto's NK603 maize - the same maize whose approval has been brought into doubt by Seralini's study. Pelletier is also a key figure in AFBV - the French Association of Plant Biotechnology, a GM lobby group headed by Marc Fellous, whom Seralini previously successfully sued for defamation!
GMOs: The shadow committee of the Academy of Sciences
Le Nouvel Observateur, 24-10-2012, Updated 25-10-2012
English translation by GMWatch
The anonymity of the statement condemning Seralini's study was shocking. It is only partly uncovered...
The statement of "six academies" released last Friday condemning in very violent terms the work of Gilles-Eric Seralini on the GMO NK603 shocked many academicians, who were astonished by the anonymity of the signatories. Especially since, according to our information, only two members set themselves up as spokesmen for the "six academies". The "statistical power" of the representation would be at least questionable.
A shadow committee which has also carefully avoided those Academicians with different views. To begin with, the only statistics expert, Paul Deheuvels, who had publicly supported the work of Gilles Eric Seralini in an article addressed to "Le Nouvel Observateur".
On Wednesday in the early afternoon, an email from the presidency and signed "the office of the Academy" justified the "fast track" "always used" "for ten years".
The email acknowledged, however, "an awareness of the interest that there will be in refining the modes of quick response of our Academy when needed."
Five academicians of the "Working Group" who were "consulted" before publication of "the opinion of the six academies" are cited: Jean-François Bach of the Academy of Pharmacy; epidemiologist Jacques-Alain Valleron; oncologist Hugues de The; geneticist Georges Pelletier, member AFBV (French Association of Plant Biotechnology [GM lobby group]); and Bernard Meunier, delegate for communication for the Academy of Sciences.
"We need to add the fifteen members of our Academy consulted," it is noted, without elaborating. Fifteen new anonymous [signatories].
One academician, shocked by this "shameful" process of subjecting his colleagues to a "fait accompli", commented: "It clearly shows that this issue affects so many interests that it cannot be dealt with objectively, but [instead] comes from people who are both judge and interested parties (INRA, ANSES, HCB [Haut Conseil des Biotechnologies, High Council of Biotechnologies] and the Academy)."
It is true that Georges Pelletier, emeritus director of research at the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA), served in the past at the CGB (Commission Biomolecular Engineering) and then validated the authorisation to market the NK603 maize that was studied and challenged by Gilles-Eric Seralini.
Finally, note that Catherine Brechignac, perpetual secretary of the Academy of Sciences, is not a signatory of the text. Yet she was president of the HCB from April 2009 to December 2010.