The editor of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), Dr A. Wallace Hayes, has decided to retract the study by the team of Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini, which found that rats fed a Monsanto GM maize NK603 and tiny amounts of the Roundup herbicide it is grown with suffered severe toxic effects, including kidney and liver damage and increased rates of tumours and mortality.
GMWatch believes the retraction to be illicit, since it violates the guidelines for retractions in scientific publishing set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), of which FCT is a member. Retraction is restricted to cases of error, plagiarism, misconduct or fraud, but Hayes, the editor of FCT, admitted that none of these applied to Seralini's paper.
The retraction, Hayes said, is solely on the basis that the findings are "inconclusive". But if this were a valid reason for retraction, then the majority of the scientific literature would vanish overnight! Inconclusive findings abound in science; it is for further studies to reduce the uncertainties.
The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) said the retraction is "a flagrant abuse of science and a blow to its credibility and independence".
Dr E Ann Clark, in a radio interview, called the retraction an "Orwellian airbrushing of the scientific record". And Dr Nancy Swanson said, "Not only do [corporations] control the news via mainstream media, they now control the publication of scientific data."
A scientist has responded to the supposedly scientific criticisms of the Séralini study, saying that they are based on the constructed myth that the paper is a flawed carcinogenicity study, rather than what it really is – a detailed and thorough chronic toxicity study.
Eminent statistician and member of the French Academy of Sciences Paul Deheuvels said at a press conference called by Prof Seralini on the retraction that the study is "truly innovative. The data are very significant. This is a pilot study which must be confirmed or refuted. But given the significance of the data, I doubt it will be overturned."
Corinne Lepage said, "The publication of Professor Séralini asks the right questions about the long term toxicity of GMOs and Roundup. Withdrawing it from the publication will not make these issues disappear." Prof Séralini's team has responded to FCT.
A series of embarrassing retractions – made, unlike the Seralini paper retraction, for valid reasons – have damaged the scientific credibility of Pam Ronald, the US media's GMO proponent of choice. In the past year the laboratory Ronald heads has publicly retracted two original scientific papers. These publications formed the core of her plant disease research programme. And German researchers have publicly raised substantive questions about a third Ronald publication. Read more
Sofia Gatica, a leading Argentine campaigner against Monsanto's agrochemical spraying on GM soy and winner of the Goldman Prize, received a death threat from a suspected Monsanto mercenary who held a gun to her. A few days later, Sofia was attacked and beaten up near her place of work.
Sofia has been spearheading a blockade against construction of a new Monsanto plant in Malvinas, Argentina. The blockade has already been in place for over 60 days and will remain indefinitely. Monsanto stands accused of resorting to intimidation tactics to try and remove the protesters.
Sign the petition to support the brave occupiers of Monsanto Malvinas.
See the protesters' Facebook page.
For more on Sofía Gatica and the the Mothers of Ituzaingó opposing Monsanto: http://bit.ly/HQgEMP
Pesticide illness in Argentina – new report.
Danish pig farmer Ib Pedersen says GM feed is affecting animal health - prompting fears over human safety. Read more
Monsanto and the junk food industry teamed up to dump more than $22 million into Washington State to defeat GMO labelling. Voters were subjected to a barrage of misleading advertising which turned people against the once-popular initiative. The largest single donor to the “no” campaign, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), is embroiled in a money-laundering lawsuit from the state Attorney General. They channeled more than $11 million into this effort and illegally tried to hide their actual donors from the public. In spite of outspending the pro-labelling campaigners 3-1, the "no" campaign only won by a narrow 3-point margin, with 51.6% voting "no" and 48.4% "yes". In the process, millions of Americans who'd never heard of GMOs got educated.
The biotech industry has developed a GM apple, called "Arctic", that doesn’t brown when it’s sliced. Although these “botox apples” are primarily targeted to the fresh-sliced apple market, they could also find their way into juice, baby foods or apple sauce, all products predominantly eaten by children and babies who are at increased risk for any adverse health effects. Please tell the USDA that parents do not want to feed their children GM apples.
Scientific comments on the application for approval (or what's known in the US as de-regulation) of the GM apple are also needed. Scientific concerns include the fact that the technology used involves the silencing of a whole gene family which has unknown functions but is suspected to be involved in defence against pests and pathogens. There has been inadequate testing of susceptibility to pests and pathogens in the tree and the fruit and no attempt will be made to prevent gene flow.
Kauai's pesticide disclosure Bill 2491 is set to become law after the Kauai County Council voted to override the mayor's veto of the bill. Bill 2491 will require users of restricted use pesticides, primarily the biotech companies, to disclose what pesticides they are spraying, where, and in what quantities. The law also requires farmers to report to the county any GM crops that they are growing, and creates buffer zones between fields sprayed with pesticides and schools and homes. Read more
Also the governing council for Hawaii's Big Island has just banned biotech companies from operating on the island while barring growth of new GM crops there. Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi will decide whether to approve the council's bill. Read more
University field trials in Illinois show that non-GM corn hybrids perform as well as or better than GM corn hybrids. Spectrum Premium Non-GMO hybrids, used in the testing, produced 3 to 10 more bushels per acre when compared to nationally known GMO corn hybrids. Read more
Due to the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds, new seeds are being genetically engineered to resist multiple herbicides, such as glyphosate, 2,4-D and dicamba herbicides. But weed scientists warn that weeds will quickly evolve resistance to these herbicides too, tying farmers to a chemical and GM technology treadmill. Also, the scientists are concerned that vapour drift of these highly toxic herbicides will cause crop injury and environmental damage. Read more
Jill Richardson has written a good article about the study by Heinemann and colleagues, which found that European non-GM agriculture is outperforming US GM agriculture, and with less use of insecticides. Read more
Mark Lynas is back in Africa - this time promoting GMOs in Nigeria. As usual he is being less than frank about who's funding him but it's clear that it's groups funded by the US State Dept and aligned with the biotech industry. And in a new TV interview in India Lynas has yet again given a completely false account of his past. This time he's claiming that he hadn't dared mention his support for GM until his dramatic and much-hyped 'conversion' speech in early 2013. But in fact he's repeatedly made public statements in favour of GM for many years! Read more
Canada has given the go-ahead for up to 100,000 GM fish eggs a year to be exported from a hatchery in Prince Edward Island to a site in Panama, bringing the world's first GM food animal closer to American supermarkets and dinner tables. The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to follow with a decision on the sale of GM salmon in the near future, and in due course on some 30 other species of GM fish currently under development. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network says the approval threatens the environment.
S firm AquaBounty stands accused of breaching environmental regulations in Panama, where it produces GM salmon eggs. Campaigners say the GM salmon could wipe out the wild salmon population if they escape and their eggs end up in rivers. Read more
The Bagladeshi government recently approved Bt brinjal/eggplant for commercial cultivation in the country. But Bangladeshi citizens don't want Bt brinjal and are asking the government to stop commercialisation. Please sign their petition and spread it on Facebook and any other way you can: Link Here
As the debate on GM golden rice continues to rage, the perspective of those in developing countries is often overlooked. GMWatch has gathered together some well-documented critical reports and resources from authoritative sources in developing countries. Read more
A petition launched on World Food Day by an alliance of farmers, agroecology, sustainable development and safe food advocates in the Philippines calls on the government to immediately stop the field trials, the planned feed testing, and eventual commercialization of GM golden rice. You can find the petition here.
More than 250 scientists have written to the prime minister to warn him of the unpredictable consequences of GMOs. They are asking the government to accept the findings of the majority report of the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee on GMO regulation, which recommended a moratorium on all GM releases and field trials until better regulation and safety testing is put in place. Read more
A Monsanto GM maize which failed in South Africa is being foisted on the rest of the continent by sleight of hand, a new report from the African Centre for Biosafety shows. Independent scientists have shown that Monsanto’s GM pesticidal maize MON810 – which has been growing in South Africa for 15 years – has failed due to the development of pest resistance, leading to the GM maize being withdrawn from the South African market. Monsanto has compensated farmers who were forced to spray their crops with pesticides to control the pests, calling into question the very rationale for these GM crops. Read more
The EU-US trade deal is a full-frontal assault on democracy that will allow rapacious companies subvert our laws, writes George Monbiot in an important article in The Guardian. Monbiot exposes how such deals across the world have enabled corporations to strike down laws that were democratically established to protect public health and the environment. These trade deals, among many other things, threaten the effective regulation of GM crops and foods. Read more
A new German grand coalition government would seek tougher EU regulations to require labelling of meat from farm animals that have eaten GMOs. The coalition would also press for an EU-wide ban on animal cloning and an EU ban on imports of cloned animals or their meat. Read more
The UK government will intervene in the European Court of Justice to support Monsanto, which wishes to import a GM soy, Intacta, into the EU for food and feed uses. It is the only government to do so. Civil society groups filed a lawsuit in March 2013, claiming that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had recommended approval for the "stacked" GMO variety without carrying out proper risk assessments as required by law. Speaking on behalf of GM-Free Cymru, Dr Brian John said: "This decision marks the end of the UK Government's neutral stance on GMOs, which has been maintained for more than 20 years by previous governments." Read more
Rothamsted Research in the UK is trialling GM wheat to repel aphids. But studies show that researchers long ago solved the problem of aphids in wheat by sustainable non-GM methods. These involve planting field margins with a plant called phacelia, which attracts beneficial predator insects, and installing pheromone strips on canes in the field. So why is British taxpayers' money being poured into a GM "solution" to a problem that's long ago been solved by sustainable non-GM methods? Only one reason: patents. Read more
GM crops rather than sustainable agricultural research are getting the funding in the UK, even though there is no UK market for GM. In contrast, the French Agency for Development has adopted new sustainable development principles and safeguards that include no funding for GM crops, and giving priority to small scale family farming in agriculture. Read more
South Australia will extend its moratorium on GM crops until at least 2019 because of the economic benefits. Government minister Leon Bignell said, "We've got a strong reputation not just around Australia but around the world for producing clean, green premium food and we think having a moratorium on the growing of GM crops really helps us in that end. People are paying a $50 a tonne premium and we think there's a lot more advantages to having the moratorium in place than to lift it." Read more
GM maize, rice, cotton, oilseed rape, bentgrass, and poplar trees are spreading uncontrollably, a new report by Testbiotech shows. This is happening in regions and countries such as the USA and Canada, Japan, China, Australia, and Europe. In many cases, the plants have escaped far beyond the fields into the wider environment. In some regions, the transgenes have already moved into populations of wild relatives. Read more
Researchers have confirmed the carcinogenic potential of Roundup herbicide in test-tube studies using human skin cells exposed to extremely low concentrations. Read more
The scientists' statement, "No scientific consensus on GMO safety", has now been signed by over 230 international scientists and experts. A recent signatory is Dr Belinda Martineau, who helped develop the world’s first GM whole food, the Flavr Savr tomato. Dr Martineau said: “Society's debate over how best to utilize the powerful technology of genetic engineering is clearly not over. For its supporters to assume it is, is little more than wishful thinking.” Positive media coverage of the statement continues with articles for SciDev.Net, Research Europe, and the food industry magazine Food Processing.
Pro-GM scientists are backed by a big agribusiness lobby and PR machine, whereas dissenters run serious risks, writes Katherine Wilson in an excellent analysis of the absence of consensus around GMO safety. Read more
Life sciences and genetics researchers who have a relationship with industry are more likely to withhold data from publication, according to a 2006 study. The study found that 44% of geneticists and 32% of other life sciences researchers participated in some form of data withholding in the three previous years. Read more
Award-winning science writer Colin Tudge explains what's wrong not just with GMOs and golden rice but with the approach to agriculture that is driving them. Read more
GMOSeralini.org, a public information website set up to tell the public the truth about Prof GE Seralini's 2012 study on GM maize and Roundup herbicide, is now available in Spanish. Please tell all your Spanish-speaking contacts. The site is also available in English, Chinese, and Russian.
In a satirical commentary, a biologist points to parallels between pro-GM scientists' responses to the Seralini GMO study and the Inquisition's condemnation of Galileo 350 years ago. Read more
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