As reported by Digital Journal,
a french study released in September showed rats exposed to Monsanto’s genetically modified corn developed mammary tumors and suffered severe liver and kidney damage.
The EFSA said
however that, upon an initial review, it had determined that the "design, reporting and analysis of the study ... are inadequate," meaning it could not "regard the authors' conclusions as scientifically sound when determining the safety of the GMO corn.
The EFSA specifically took issue with the Spraguep Dawley rats used to conduct the study.
states these rats have a 81 percent chance of developing spontaneous endocrine tumors when they live more than 2 years. Most of the tumors are "medullary carcinomas of the thyroid, followed by tumors of the anterior pituitary gland, pheochromocytomas and cortical adenomas of the adrenal gland, and islet cell tumors of the pancreas". There was no mention of mammary tumors or liver and kidney disease mentioned in the report.
It is not uncommon for these rats to be used in research however. Numerous "scholarly articles
" can be found where the Sprague-Dawley rats were used in research, including research done by the American Association of Cancer Research
The EFSA contends however that the use of these rats
"means the observed frequency of tumors is influenced by the natural incidence of tumors typical of this strain, regardless of any treatment. This is neither taken into account nor discussed by the authors,"
according to a RT.com
One of the key components of the GMO corn is that it is considered to be "Roundup Ready", meaning it is extremely tolerant to the use of the popular herbicide RoundUp. One of the key ingredients in RoundUp is glyphosate.
In 2011 Reuters
reported that Bob Kremer, a microbiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, was one of several scientists who were concerned that the widespread use of RoundUp could potentially cause fungal root disease of plants and lead to a decrease in corn yield. The report also states that outside researchers had raised concerns over the years that glyphosate use may be linked to cancer, miscarriages and other health problems in people and livestock.
According to a Huffington Post
report, also released in 2011, the EPA issued a statement which said
"The agency plans to re-evaluate risks from glyphosate and certain inert ingredients to humans and the environment during the registration review process."
The report goes on to say the EPA was looking at a study it helped to sponsor which found some users of glyphosate were observed to have a higher risk of multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting bone marrow, than people who never used the chemical. Don Huber, a well-known plant pathologist and retired Purdue University professor, sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in January 2011 that warned of tests that indicated glyphosate could be contributing to spontaneous abortions and infertility in pigs, cattle and other livestock.
Gilles-Eric Seralini, lead researcher in the French study, defended his findings and claimed he refused to allow the EFSA to verify his findings because they had authorized the use of GM corn to begin with. He stated
"It's out of the question that those who authorized NK603 carry out a counter-study of our findings as there'd be a conflict of interest."