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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid