Scientist won't allow EU agency to check GM findings

Sep 20, 2012

The French scientist who linked Monsanto genetically-modified corn to cancer in rats on Thursday refused to let the EU's food safety watchdog, EFSA, verify his results.

"It's out of the question that those who authorised (Monsanto's) NK603 carry out a counter-study of our findings as there'd be a ," Gilles-Eric Seralini said at a news conference at the .

EFSA, which authorises the sale and planting of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), was asked by the European Union executive Wednesday for an opinion as soon as possible, hopefully by year's end, on a study headed by Seralini.

His research team at France's University of Caen found that rats fed on NK603 corn or exposed to the weedkiller used with it developed tumours.

NK603, a corn also called maize, is made by US agribusiness giant Monsanto and was engineered to make it resistant to Monsanto herbicide Roundup. This enables farmers to use the weedkiller in a single go, enabling substantial savings.

But for EFSA to rule on the findings, it would need to see the study's original data.

Centre-right MEP Corinne Lepage, a former French environment minister, said: "We don't want people who authorised GMOs to be carrying out the counter-study."

France will seek an immediate EU ban on imports of the corn if the study linking it to cancer in rats is deemed credible, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Thursday.

The authors of the study have said it is the first experiment in that followed rats throughout their , as opposed to just 90 days.

But their methodology and results and its relevance to humans have been questioned by other experts.

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dschlink
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 20, 2012
Refusal can only mean that the results are bogus,because regardless of who analyses the experiment, it shouldn't change the outcome. Since the authors are worried, they are under suspicion.
Deathclock
Sep 20, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Skepticus
3.2 / 5 (9) Sep 20, 2012
An independent investigative body is needed to avoid conflict of interest. Who wants Big Tobacco to do a study on effects of cigarettes?
Caliban
5 / 5 (7) Sep 20, 2012
Refusal can only mean that the results are bogus,because regardless of who analyses the experiment, it shouldn't change the outcome. Since the authors are worried, they are under suspicion.


We aren't talking about a peer-review process here. We are talking about a governmental agency, which clearly has an interest in the findings --in fact, a clearly CONFLICTING interest-- sitting in judgement over the validity of scientific findings. We will ignore the spectre of "regulatory capture" itself, which is of obvious concern in this case.

Imagine, if you will, what happens to EFSA if these results are validated independently. All Hell breaks loose!!!

So we can imagine what lengths of fraud and chicanery will be on offer if EFSA is tasked with an "objective review" of this study.

I am in full agreement with Skepticus --since this is such fraught science-- it must be reviewed by an independent panel to avoid "even the appearance of conflict of interest".
StarGazer2011
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 20, 2012
just another activist with a science degree. anyone who wont share their data and methods isnt a scientist; they are a fraud.

it doesnt need an 'independant panel' because no such thing exists; they are all suceptible to capture (look at the IPCC, its wall to wall FOTE activists).

What we need is scientists independently performing the experiment in multiple institutions, publishing their results AND methodology and then discussing them; you know ... science!
Caliban
5 / 5 (1) Sep 20, 2012
just another activist with a science degree. anyone who wont share their data and methods isnt a scientist; they are a fraud.

it doesnt need an 'independant panel' because no such thing exists; they are all suceptible to capture (look at the IPCC, its wall to wall FOTE activists).

What we need is scientists independently performing the experiment in multiple institutions, publishing their results AND methodology and then discussing them; you know ... science!


And review by the EFSA accomplishes this how?
Sean_W
2 / 5 (4) Sep 20, 2012
An independent investigative body is needed to avoid conflict of interest. Who wants Big Tobacco to do a study on effects of cigarettes?


So they should release their data only to bodies which they are sure are independent enough to agree with them? Sorry, no.

In science, all parties--those who support the findings and those who oppose them--get to see what you claim to have discovered. All biased and unbiased parties get to raise criticisms that have to be accepted or rejected on their merit, not the reputation or social and political standing of the critic.

Though I am not a theist, the Apollo astronauts (I think) had a saying which sums up a genuinely scientific view: "In God we trust; all others bring data."
Caliban
3 / 5 (2) Sep 21, 2012
And review by EFSA isn't science.

Let's go on the assumption that Seralini's study protocol is legit --a stretch, I know-- but just for the sake of argument, let's make that assumption.

The only way to invalidate his findings, then, is to replicate the study, following --EXACTLY-- that very same protocol and not achieving pretty much identical results.

So, I ask again: in what way, or by what means, does ENFA "review" accomplish this necessary task? And how do we know that their judgement, given this understanding, is scientifically valid? Especially in light of the fact that a massive lawsuit and huge expense would be necessary to overturn their ruling once made, if it was found that the ruling was not based upon sound, scientific evidence. And where does the will or the money come from to mount the challenge?

It won't be difficult to find plenty of scientists with impeccable credentials who have zero stake in the interests of Monsanto, et al. Especially in the EU.

VendicarD
5 / 5 (2) Sep 21, 2012
If their research publications are complete, the EU agency will be able to review and replicate their work without their cooperation.

That is how science works.
Eikka
4 / 5 (4) Sep 21, 2012
If their research publications are complete, the EU agency will be able to review and replicate their work without their cooperation.

That is how science works.


True, but that's not what they're about to do. The study itself takes more than two years to complete, so they're not going to replicate it.

Instead EFSA wants to see the original data that was gathered in the original study, so they can say "This seems legit" or "This seems faulty".

And since EFSA has a conflict of interest in the matter, they basically have no credibility in saying the study is wrong, but their word still carries weight so that if they deem the study wrong, it is in effect wrong and you can keep using NK603 until someone challenges them in court, which will take years, decades even.

So the research institute cannot give the data to EFSA. That'd be giving them (Monstanto and other lobbyers) the chance to stifle the research for years.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Sep 21, 2012
but the study itself is not attempted to replicated in peer-review press in any way.


That's because it's not the job of the press to replicate the study but simply report and relay commentary of the results of other people's studies.

And cold fusion studies have been replicated where possible. The problem is that the people who claim results invariably give poor or simply too general information about the implementation of their experiments, or outright hide their methods under the excuse of protecting their intellectual property.

It's pointless to answer to such handwaving, when the other party can simply claim you didn't replicate the experiment right. There hasn't been anything rigorous to replicate.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Sep 21, 2012
For example, there was a suspect that sonoluminence, the luminous outbursts from cavitating bubbles in acetone, is a form of fusion to explain the anomalous measurements of energy coming out of the bubbles. Turned out it was an error in measurements, but for a while it was on the wall as a candidate for cold fusion, until it got peer reviewed and falsified.

These things are being studied whenever a reason arises. Crooks and scammers aren't a reason enough for someone to bother spending thousands of dollars and their time chasing ghosts, which is why the scammers are always crying about not being taken seriously by the scientific community.

Conspiracy theories are all they have left, but that's enough to goad some people into investing into the "research", and that's why they keep up with the old adage "any publicity is good publicity". Just making noise.

The moment you apply scientific rigor to cold fusion, the edge of doubt and uncertainty is lost, and the whole thing falls apart.
Kev_C
1 / 5 (1) Sep 21, 2012
There aren't half some crud commentaries on here.
Lets not forget that the governments without exception are all bought and paid for by the corporations. We are mere pawns in the game of exploitation. If you believe one single fact coming from any of these governments or their numerous committees or departments then you are lost to the debate.
Monsanto is corrupt right to the core. End of debate on that one.
The science conducted by Seralini is robust. After all what has he to gain from the research? Fame? Hardly. Fortune? Not a chance. I would suggest that what he stands to gain is a total vindication for the slanderous attacks he sustained when he published his previous research on the toxic risks of eating GM food. In fact he suggested at the time that the duration of the feeding trials as conducted by Monsanto and others was far to short a duration to be meaningful. He was dismissed by the EU departments on the say so of the biotech corporations. How much more evidence do you need?
Eikka
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 23, 2012
After all what has he to gain from the research? Fame? Hardly. Fortune?


Political ammunition against the established order?

There is the fact that organizations like Greenpeace are trying to smear and disrupt all sorts of technology they associate with the status quo to drive their own political agendas, so the situation is not all that clear cut.

Put simply, they want the modern society to fail so they can replace it with their alternative, so everything that supports the established society such as GMOs for better crop yields, nuclear power for clean energy, or even large scale windmills that actually produce energy have to go. If it doesn't solve the problem their way, they have to sabotage it.