1.EFSA hands Seralini data on NK603 corn but gets nothing in return
2.Team Seralini accuses EFSA of a con trick
3.EFSA delays final review of GM corn study to mid-November
NOTE: Gilles-Eric Seralini has said from the start that he is reluctant to hand over more information about his recently published study on the impact of NK603 GM maize and Monsanto's herbicide Roundup unless the regulators release - ideally on a public website - all the health and environmental risk studies on GMOs and Roundup, including all the details of the blood analyses performed during mammalian tests, so that all the scientists, journalists and citizens who wish to can compare the details of Seralini's study with the studies that led to the European Food Safety Authority's market approvals of these products.
If EFSA would do this, Seralini has said he will reciprocate, although he has also said that if his work is to be evaluated fully and fairly it needs to be assessed by an independent group of scientists who, unlike EFSA, are untainted by conflicts of interest and by past regulatory decisions that Seralini's research challenges.
Seralini's desire for full disclosure is not only about transparency, but also about making sure that like is compared with like, so that a double standard cannot be applied where EFSA can identify apparent weaknesses in Seralini's research that might equally apply to studies that EFSA has fully accepted.
There is, in fact, good evidence that EFSA has already in its preliminary rejection of Seralini's work applied just such a double standard. There is also evidence that Seralini's research has used comparatively higher scientific standards than research EFSA has accepted as supporting the safety of Monsanto's products.
Now, according to two of the articles below (items 1 and 3) EFSA has moved things forward by giving Seralini's team access to all the available information relating to its evaluation of Monsanto's NK603 maize from 2003 and 2009. The articles say that despite EFSA's full disclosure of this information Seralini has not reciprocated.
However, the French article that we've translated below (item 2) tells a very different story. According to one of Seralini's co-authors, when they dug into the information that EFSA had provided, they discovered that "there is no biological data (analyses of blood and tissues) on which you can work. This is really a con trick."
If that is the case then the question that arises is, has EFSA claimed it is making a full disclosure while actually retaining critical information about the studies that it used to approve Monsanto's products? And, if so, why? What has it got to hide?
Or, on the other hand, has EFSA done what it says and fully disclosed all the information that was used in its approval process for Monsanto's products? Because if so, this would suggest something still more disturbing, that EFSA never had access to the information that would be necessary to evaluate the studies fully.
That would in turn raise the question as to why EFSA is demanding that kind of depth of information from Seralini. That question also applies to all those pro-GM scientists and commentators who have also been demanding full disclosure from Seralini but who have never made the same demand about the data relating to the applications for GM approvals.
Such a double standard would only make sense if people are intent on finding fault with one type of study - the type that raises concerns about Monsanto's products, while nodding through the other.
Either way, Seralini's goal of the complete release of all the details of the health and environmental risk studies on GMOs and Roundup, including his own, remains the only sensible way forward. As Seralini has also requested, this information should be made available on a public website where everyone can see the basis of regulatory discussions and decision making.
1.EFSA hands Seralini data on NK603 corn but gets nothing in return
Agra-Net, October 30 2012 [subscription required for full article]
The European Food Safety Authority last week gave French toxicologist Gilles-Eric Seralini all the available data that the agency used to assess Monsanto's NK603 biotech corn variety in 2003 and 2009, but EFSA says the controversial researcher has yet to hand over more information on his study design and methodology.
In a statement issued Oct. 22, EFSA says that, after receiving a written request from the Caen University professor, the agency had that same day given him access to all the available data used in the two evaluations, EU Food Law reports.
2.GM: Team Seralini accuses EFSA [of a con trick]
Europe1.fr with AFP, October 26 2012
English translation by GMWatch
On Friday CRIIGEN, the research institute on GMOs of which Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini is a key member, accused the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of "bad faith", in response to the agency which on Monday lamented Seralini's refusal to send his raw data. "We deplore the bad faith of the EFSA," the members of the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) wrote in a statement. CRIIGEN directed the financing of the researcher's controversial study on the GM maize NK603 and Roundup, published in September.
Prof. Seralini's team had requested the publication of the data on which the EFSA had based its authorizations of Monsanto's NK603 [GM maize] and Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world, before transmitting their own data. On Monday, while criticizing Criigen's lack of cooperation, the European agency [EFSA] said it had decided to make available to the researcher all the elements that led to the granting of the authorizations. But "when you peel back [dig into] the records only made available to us since Monday, [you discover] there are no biological data (analyses of blood and tissues) on which you can work. This is really a con trick," said Dr Joel Spiroux, the chairman of CRIIGEN and coauthor of the [Seralini] study.
3.EFSA Delays Final Review of Genetic Corn Study to Mid-November
LONDON--The European Food Safety Authority said Tuesday its final assessment of a study which alleges a genetically engineered corn made by Monsanto Co. (MON) causes cancer will be published in mid-November, later than originally planned.
The EFSA, the European Union's risk assessment body for food and feed safety, said it had changed the date of its second assessment from the end of October to allow it to fully consider critiques of the University of Caen's research paper that have been carried out by member states including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Earlier this month the EFSA's initial assessment labeled the paper "of insufficient scientific quality to be considered as valid for risk assessment" and said its conclusions weren't "scientifically sound." However, it also requested additional information from the study's authors related to experimental design, reporting and analysis of findings to help inform its final assessment.
The university study found that rats fed for two years on Monsanto's genetically modified NK603 corn, or exposed to the company's Roundup brand glyphosate weedkiller used with the corn, developed more tumors and other severe diseases than a control group fed regular, non-GM corn.
The study also found that rats exposed to Roundup exhibited more disease symptoms than the test group.
The researchers recommended conducting more studies to evaluate toxic effects of genetically modified crops on humans, especially when combined with a weedkiller. NK603, which Monsanto sells as Roundup Ready corn, is resistant to the weedkiller. Monsanto markets the two products together as a weed-control strategy for farmers.
Last week the EFSA said it had given researchers access to all available data relating to its evaluation of genetically modified NK603 corn from 2003 and 2009 following a written request by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini, the author of the controversial study.
The EFSA added that it had also repeated its previous request for further information in letters sent to Mr. Seralini on Oct. 4 and Oct. 18, but had received no documentation.