France calls for review of GMO maize study

Sept. 21, 2012 at 6:15 PM
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DIJON, France, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The French government is calling for a review of a controversial study that suggests a link between Roundup herbicide and cancer in rats.

The study, released Wednesday, alleges rats exposed to corn genetically-modified by Monsanto to be resistant to the herbicide, developed tumors, liver damage and digestive problems, Radio France International reported Friday.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he will call for a ban on the import of Monsanto's NK603 corn "at a European level" if the national health agency backs up the findings of the study by French scientist Gilles-Eric Seralini.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, faced immediate criticism from other scientists who say Seralini's study methods were flawed, The New York Times reported.

The Times said Seralini, a prominent opponent of genetically engineered crops, is a leader of the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering, which sponsored the research.

Monsanto, based in St. Louis, says the study does not meet "minimum acceptable standards for this type of scientific research, the findings are not supported by the data presented, and the conclusions are not relevant for the purpose of safety assessment."

"There is no plausible mechanism for the results reported with genetically modified maize, and the results are inconsistent with an extensive body of experience and scientific study," the company said Friday in a statement. "Extensive animal and in-vitro (test-tube) data has demonstrated that glyphosate does not cause cancer or tumors, nor is an endocrine disrupter. This study does not provide information which calls into question the extensive safety evaluations of glyphosate or Roundup herbicides."

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