Scientists Call for Review of French Study Claiming Monsanto Products Gave Rats Tumors and Organ Damage

Category: Health & Medicine / Sep 20, 2012 2:24PM EDT
Scientists have called for a review in the way EU regulators allow the marketing of genetically modified foods after a controversial French study said rats fed with Monsanto’s GM corn or exposed to its top selling weedkiller suffered tumors and multiple organ damage. The French government asked the country's health watchdog to investigate the findings further, although a number of scientists questioned the study's basic methods and Monsanto said it felt confident its products had been proven safe. The university that conducted the study said rats fed on a diet containing NK603 - a seed variety made tolerant to Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller - or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet. Experts not involved in the study were skeptical, with one accusing the French scientists of going on a "statistical fishing trip" and others describing its methods as well below standard. But the scientists claim it was the most thorough study ever carried out. The animals on the genetically modified (GM) diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage, according to the peer-reviewed study which was published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology and presented at a news conference in London. The researchers said 50 percent of male and 70 percent of female rats died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group. A Monsanto spokesman said the company would review the study thoroughly but added that over one hundred studies had shown the safety of their products in accordance with international regulations. The study is also likely to create friction in the United States, where opponents of genetically engineered foods in California are fighting to have all GMOs removed from the food supply.