News / Health

French Experts Question GMO Cancer Study

A product labeled with Non Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is sold at the Lassens Natural Foods & Vitamins store in Los Angeles. Californians are considering Proposition 37, which would require labeling on all food made with altered genetic material. A product labeled with Non Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is sold at the Lassens Natural Foods & Vitamins store in Los Angeles. Californians are considering Proposition 37, which would require labeling on all food made with altered genetic material.
x
A product labeled with Non Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is sold at the Lassens Natural Foods & Vitamins store in Los Angeles. Californians are considering Proposition 37, which would require labeling on all food made with altered genetic material.
A product labeled with Non Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is sold at the Lassens Natural Foods & Vitamins store in Los Angeles. Californians are considering Proposition 37, which would require labeling on all food made with altered genetic material.
French officials and experts have added their voices to the chorus of criticism over a recent study linking genetically modified corn to tumors in experimental rats.

The French national food safety agency joined six scientific academies in concluding the study was too badly done to support its conclusions.

The debate comes as voters in the U.S. state of California consider whether to require labels on all foods with ingredients from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Disturbing images

The study in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology included shocking photos of rats which researchers say grew giant tumors after eating GMO corn for two years.

Study author Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen says his findings show regulations on the crop are not good enough.

"GM foods have been evaluated in an extremely poor and lax way with much less analysis than we have done," Seralini says.

Experts Question Validity of GMO Cancer Studyi
|| 0:00:00
X
Steve Baragona
October 23, 2012 1:56 PM
A recent study claiming that genetically modified corn caused tumors in rats is drawing a chorus of criticism from scientists around the world. European officials say the study was too badly done to support its conclusions. VOA's Steve Baragona reports.


Eighty percent of the packaged foods on U.S. supermarket shelves contain GMO ingredients, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

California advocates of a law requiring those ingredients to be identified on food labels have used the French study to bolster their argument.
 
The “Yes on 37” campaign, backing mandatory GMO labeling in this November’s statewide voter referendum, held a press conference with Seralini to announce the results of his research.

'Numerous problems'

However, other scientists immediately found problems with the study, including geneticist Alan McHughen at the University of California at Riverside, an expert with the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

“First of all, the authors of the study used a line of rats that was genetically predisposed to form tumors in the first place," McHughen says. "So right off the bat the whole study was suspect.”

The European Food Safety Authority also found numerous problems with the French study, from not enough control rats to substandard analytical methods. And the French science academies said the release of the study, which coincided with the release of a book and a film highlighting the work, raised ethical problems.

At the University of California at Davis, toxicologist Alison van Eenennaam questioned the researchers’ motives.

“I think it was a cynical ploy to exploit the scientific process to create fear in the minds of consumers,” she says.

Long-term tests?

Even opponents of genetic engineering agree the study was flawed. But they believe more long-term studies should be done.

“There should be required safety assessments before these crops are put on the market," says Michael Hansen, with the advocacy group Consumers Union. "That is not what happens in the United States.”

The French food safety authority called for more publicly funded research covering the entire life span of experimental animals.

US tests

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration normally reviews voluntary safety assessments that companies submit for new GM crops. They typically include a 90-day rat-feeding test for toxicity.

That is the international standard. And the longer studies that have been done have not shown major problems, says UC Davis’s Alison van Eenennaam.

“The science doesn’t show there’s any additional data that wouldn’t already be caught at these 90-day studies,” she says.

Regulators OK GMOs

Regulators in the U.S. and Europe, as well as the U.N.’s World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, have concluded that genetically modified products on the shelves today are no more dangerous than products made the usual way, according to UC Riverside’s Alan McHughen.

“All of those, I think, give us the body of scientific evidence to state with a certain degree of confidence that yes, these products are as safe as other products on the market,” McHughen says.

Public confidence in this reassurance will be put to the test in the California referendum November 6, when state voters decide if GM foods should carry a special label.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Timur Tyncherov
October 24, 2012 10:56 AM
It’s a pretty controversial topic, but it’s all simple as I see it. Our digestive system assimilates molecules split by the stomach. Molecules, not genes. Chemical composition of organisms is rather consistent, whether genetically modified or not. The simplest example: If an organism wants water, it may take it from a genetically modified crop, and the water still be just water, not GM water any case. I would rather be concerned about the pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and all those artificial flavors-colors.


by: Ian from: USA
October 23, 2012 1:12 PM
So why do these GMO companies against labeling the food if they think it is safe .
I would love to see all the ingredient listed honestly just as artificial colors , flavors.
I don't care if they can prove that it is safe , same for irradiated food . I want to have the option to chose what go into my body .

In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
October 24, 2012 2:02 AM
I agree with you. It's impossible to verify any harmful event never happen even with any experiments. What could be verified is that some events have happened.  

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid