EFSA Says Study Linking Corn to Cancer Was Flawed

| November 28, 2012 | 3:34 pm
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(Dow Jones) — The European Food Safety Authority, or EFSA, said Wednesday there is no need to re-evaluate the safety of genetically engineered corn made by Monsanto Co. because a study linking the crop to cancer in rats published in September had serious defects in its design and methodology.

The decision comes after the French government said last month it would no longer pursue an immediate ban on EU imports of the corn made by the St. Louis-based chemicals giant, known as NK603, after its food-safety regulator, ANSES, also concluded the study was flawed.

ANSES said the number of rats included in the study was too small to make any finding statistically significant.

The University of Caen study, led by Gilles-Eric Seralini, concluded that rats fed for two years on NK603 corn, or exposed to the company’s Roundup Ready brand of glyphosate week killer designed to be used with the corn, developed more tumors and other severe diseases than a control group fed regular corn.  The study also found that rats exposed to Roundup exhibited more disease symptoms than the test group.

Monsanto officials responded to the study saying they didn’t believe it presented any information that justified a change on the approval of NK603 imports or broader views on the safety of the genetically modified products.

“Conclusions cannot be regarded as scientifically sound because of inadequacies in the design, reporting and analysis of the study as outlined in the paper,” the EFSA said in a statement. “Consequently, it is not possible to draw valid conclusions about the occurrence of tumors in the rats tested, based on the information published by Seralini et al.”

The EFSA made similar criticisms of the paper last month, but also requested additional information from the study’s authors related to experimental design, reporting and analysis of findings to help inform its final assessment. “No such material had reached the Authority before publication of this statement,” it said.

Before reaching its final conclusions, the EFSA said it considered independent assessments of the Seralini study by organizations in the EU member states of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

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