Paris - An investigative panel on Monday rejected a contested French
study that linked genetically-modified corn to cancer in rats but called
for a "long-term, independent" probe into the issue to advise the
The Higher Biotechnologies Council (HCB) said it found
"no causal relationship" between the rats' tumours and consumption of
Monsanto's NK603 GM corn or the Roundup herbicide that was part of the
The experiment's methods were also "unsuitable", it said, in a report made at the government's request.
scientific committee (of the HCB) concludes that the study provides no
scientific information regarding the detection of any health risk linked
to NK603 corn, whether it was treated with Roundup or not."
"The HCB's Economic, Ethical and Social Committee, for its part, affirms that the study is not conclusive.
in order to answer the public's questions, the committee recommends
that a long-term, independent, transparent study, with adversarial
views, be undertaken under government auspices."
September, a team of researchers led by Gilles-Eric Seralini at the
University of Caen, published a long-term study that said rats fed with
Monsanto's NK603 corn and/or doses of Roundup developed tumours.
paper, published in a peer-reviewed science journal, unleashed a storm
in environmentally-sensitive Europe, where GM products are subject to
NK603 has been engineered to make it resistant to Monsanto's herbicide Roundup.
This enables farmers to douse fields with the weed killer in a single go, thus offering substantial savings.
said his experiment was the first to test GM corn rodents' normal
lifespan of two years, as opposed to the standard 90 days. Two hundred
male and female rats were split into 10 groups of 10 animals.
One was a "control" group which was given ordinary rat food that contained 33% non-GM corn, and plain water.
groups were given ordinary rat food and water with increasing doses of
Roundup, reflecting various concentrations of the herbicide in the food
The other six were fed rat food of which 11%, 22% or 33%
comprised NK603 corn, either treated or not with Roundup when the corn
The researchers said they found that NK603 and Roundup
both caused similar damage to the rats' health, whether they were
consumed together or on their own.
But critics said Seralini
manipulated the media to boost the impact of his findings and faulted
his experiments and gaps in his data.
On Friday, six French
science academies joined the accusers, saying that the work "does not
enable any reliable conclusion to be drawn" and had "spread fear among
The joint statement, an exceptional event in French
science, was issued by the national academies of agriculture, medicine,
pharmacy, sciences, technology and veterinary studies.
government ordered two fast-track official investigations into the
study. The second report, by the National Agency for Food Safety
(ANSES), was due to be released later on Monday.
The paper was published on 19 September in a peer-reviewed specialist journal called Food and Chemical Toxicology.