We are getting used to the proponents of the GM industry mounting a wide range of mean-spirited and vicious assaults on the integrity and competence of scientists who dare to say anything "inconvenient" about GM crops and foods. The list gets longer and longer -- Arpad Pusztai, Mae-wan Ho, Judy Carman, Angelika Hilbeck, Irina Ermakova, Manuela Malatesta, Ignacio Chapela, Terje Traavik, Emma Rosi-Marshall, Andres Carrasco and others have had their careers threatened and their competence questioned -- even when their papers have been through a full peer-review process and have been published in reputable scientific journals.
It is apparently a crime -- in the eyes of the GM industry rottweilers, and even in the eyes of certain GM regulatory committees, to question the safety of GM crops and foods, to point out signs of chronic health effects arising from animal feeding studies, and to discover negative environmental effects associated with GM crops or the herbicides that have to be used with them. Why do these wretched people seek to create a climate of fear in the small community of independent scientists who are involved -- against all the odds -- in GM work? What are they afraid of? What is it that they do not want us to know? What do they know that they would prefer the rest of us not to know? Isn't it high time that our regulators and our Governments started asking these questions?
So who is the latest victim of a coordinated witch-hunt? None other than Prof Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen. He has made the GM industry, and its little friends in high places, very upset. Read on.......
The scientific publication “A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health”, where Professor Séralini is the corresponding author, is a counter analysis of data produced by Monsanto. The availability of the data used by Professor Seralini’s team is partly the result of a court order, where the confidentiality of a part of the data was deemed illegal by a German court. The released Monsanto data was a study on rats fed for 3 months with the three maize lines under regulatory consideration. As emphasized by Professor Séralini and co-workers in their articles, in their analysis they do not make claims of evidence of chronic toxicity of the GMOs under study, because the experimental design of the feeding trial by Monsanto contain too numerous deficiencies to allow to draw robust conclusions. What Professor Seralini and colleagues describe, however, is that warning signs are present in the data, which may lead to the development of a chronic condition and therefore strongly merit further inquiry. In other words, they refute the ability of the data provided by Monsanto to formally and scientifically demonstrate the safety of the three GM maize events under investigation, given the poor study design and lack of statistical robustness of the chosen methodology.
Incomprehensibly, the French Association of Plant Biotechnology (AFBV), chaired by Marc Fellous, Professor of Genetics and former president of the Biomolecular Engineering Commission (a governmental commission to assess agricultural GMOs, where Professor Séralini was a member from 1998 to 2007), supported by well-known professors like Claude Allegre and Axel Kahn, stated in a press release dated from December 14, 2009, that "The work of Professor Séralini has been invalidated by the scientific community." These allegations are totally false and have no basis. Not only has all of the work conducted by Professor Séralini and colleagues been published in international journals after rigorous peer review by anonymous referees, but also none of their work has been subject to any science-based or formal means of invalidation.
Following the participation of Professor Séralini in the TV show Health Magazine on January 21, 2010, on the French TV channel France 5 (where he was invited to talk about his latest study), the same AFBV sent two letters (dated 26 and 28 January) to managers of the channel and the show, including the High Audiovisual Council, resorting to name-calling by describing Professor Séralini as a "merchant of fear" and a scientist not recognized. It would seem that members of the AFBV, declaring themselves all in favor of GMO, are acting more as a political group rather than as scientists.
Moreover, in January 2009 and 2010, the expertise of Professor Séralini was solicited for the Supreme Court of India where the Indian Government had requested the reviewing of the raw data of the Mahyco company’s safety studies conducted to gain approval for commercialization of a new GM eggplant (Bt brinjal), producing an insecticidal toxin. Based on this review, which included a range of other experts, a moratorium was established. Since then, Professor Séralini has been repeatedly the subject of defamatory attacks extending far beyond any scientific discourse and without any scientifically supported justification or merit. Such attacks fundamentally undermine the principles of due scientific discourse and fairness of an open society.