Monsanto Launches Damage Control Over GMO/Cancer Study
Biotech giant Monsanto has launched a desperate damage control effort in the aftermath of a French study which found that rats fed on Monsanto’s genetically-engineered corn were far more likely to suffer tumors, organ failure and premature death.
Aside from the details of the study, a wider question remains. If Monsanto and other GMO giants are so confident in the safety of their products and have no qualms about them being in the food supply, why have they spent a combined total of over $19 million dollars in an attempt to prevent Americans from knowing that their food is genetically modified?
Monsanto has bankrolled a huge campaign fronted by lobbyists in an effort to sink California’s Proposition 37, a bill that would simply mandate genetically modified food and ingredients be labeled at the retail level.
If genetically-modified food is safe and the studies have proven it is safe, why is Monsanto so desperate to keep its presence in our food hidden?
The recent study, conducted by scientists at the University of Caen and published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, found that 50 percent of male and 70 percent of female rats fed on a diet containing NK603 – a genetically modified corn produced by Monsanto – or those exposed to Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller – suffered tumors and multiple organ damage, causing them to die prematurely.
Monsanto immediately went into spin mode, issuing a press release over the weekend claiming that toxicologists and public health experts had found “fundamental problems with the study design,” without specifically explaining what those problems were.
Given the fact that Monsanto-funded scientists are routinely wheeled out in public to attack the abundance of evidence confirming the link between GMO and cancer, the reaction to the French study was unsurprising.
As Sayer Ji explains, the two previous studies before the French inquiry, the results of which claimed that there was no link between Monsanto’s Roundup Ready herbicide and cancer, were both funded by Monsanto itself.
A study published in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology which exonerated Monsanto contained this glaring admission of a conflict of interest;
“The authors have disclosed the funding source for this research. JSM [study author] has served has a paid consultant to Monsanto Company….This research was supported by the Monsanto Company, St. Louis, Missouri.”
Is it really just a coincidence that the first study in recent years not to be funded by Monsanto produces completely different results?
“There is no plausible mechanism for the results reported with genetically modified maize and the results are inconsistent with an extensive body of experience and scientific study,” Monsanto claimed in response to the French study.
However, the results are only inconsistent with previous (Monsanto-funded) studies because the French study went beyond the 90-day period which Monsanto had previously been able to hide behind in claiming their GMO products were safe.
As The Grocer highlights, the French investigation “Was the first study to look at the long-term effects of Roundup and NK603, which has been approved for human consumption based on 90-day feeding trials. Scientists found that rats developed mammary tumours and severe liver and kidney damages as early as four months in males and seven in females, compared with 23 months and 14 months respectively in a control group.”
Since tumors and other ailments were only discovered after a four month period, this throws into serious doubt previous (Monsanto-funded) studies the biotech giant pointed to as proving the safety of GMO because they failed to extend beyond a 90 day period, whereas the French study looked at the effects of GMO throughout the whole life span of the rats.
This again illustrates the fact that far from being inadequate or badly modeled, the French study was more extensive and more complete than any previous study – with the added bonus that it was not funded by Monsanto – it was completely impartial.
As we reported last week, apologists for Monsanto have jumped on the bandwagon in an effort to discredit the findings of the French study, lying by omission in an attempt to cast doubt on its findings.
David Spiegelhalter of the University of Cambridge tried to question the accuracy of the study by highlighting that “The study’s untreated control arm comprised only 10 rats of each sex, most of which also got tumors.”
However, Spiegelhalter failed to acknowledge that it took these rats anything up to 19 months longer to develop tumors compared to those fed on Monsanto’s GM corn.
Having had its nose bloodied in various European countries and facing being kicked out of the European marketplace altogether, Monsanto is in panic mode right now. California’s Right to Know Act - otherwise known as Prop 37 - could spell the beginning of the end not only for Monsanto’s business model but for the whole GMO agenda across the globe.
Reuter's - Study finds tumors in rats fed on Monsanto's GM corn
In a study that prompted criticism from other experts, French scientists said on Wednesday that rats fed on Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) corn or exposed to its top-selling weedkiller suffered tumors and multiple organ damage.
Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues said ra]ts fed on a diet containing NK603 - a seed variety made tolerant to dousings of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller - or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet.
The reason I post this....Note the clear bias against the conclusions of the study written into the piece by Reuter's, using quotes by un-named "experts." Monsanto is already working to smear the study so they can defeat California's Prop 37 and force you to eat whatever their laboratories want you to eat (even though Monsanto's own canteen bans GMO foods).
The fact that MSNBC carried the story at all proves that the alternative media is now driving the news cycle; that the corporate-owned media are reacting to us rather than the other way around. But still the propagandists are paid to ridicule and dismiss any criticism of Monsanto's products.
Monsanto's behavior mimics that of the cigarette companies during the 1960s, when profit had the top priority and the health of the customers was not a factor in corporate planning.
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If can avoid most of monsanto's crops. If I must I will move to Europe where common sense prevails. If they touch the salmon, they are declaring war.
I see that Monsanto people are everywhere in the government. We need to wake these people up. It is clear Monsanto lobbying must be outlawed. They are clearly able to buy and sell the government with relative ease. Clearly Obama has failed in this regard. I can only wonder, however, why Monsanto backs the Romney campaign with money and campaign staffers, but not Obama's. Would it be easier for them to do their evil work under Republican rule?
I am spreading the word to everyone I know, trying to get people to understand the danger. People wake up.
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Russia halts imports of Monsanto corn over cancer fears
Russian authorities temporary suspended the import and sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified corn after a French study suggested it may be linked to cancer.
The Russia’s consumer-rights regulator Rospotrebnadzor asked scientists at the country’s Institute of Nutrition to review the study. The watchdog has also contacted to European Commission’s Directorate General for Health & Consumers to explain the EU’s position on GM corn.
The report prepared by France's University of Caen and published last week, claimed that rats fed over a two-year period with Monsanto's genetically modified NK603 corn, developed more tumors and other pathologies than a test group fed with regular corn. The NK603, sold under the Roundup label, is genetically engineered to withstand glyphosate weed killer.
The company criticized the study, saying it “doesn’t meet minimum acceptable standards for this type of scientific research” and the data was incomplete.
Monsanto also said Russia’s ban will have little effect on its business as the country import small volumes of corn from the US. Besides that, the Russian government doesn't permit farmers to plant GM crops. "Russia is a net exporter of grain, so the actual impact of their temporary suspension, if any, is likely to be small," the spokesman said in a statement.
Meanwhile, France announced it will uphold the ban on genetically modified crops in the country. It has asked the national food-security agency Anses to examine the study of Monsanto’s corn. If other countries follow the examples of Russia and France it could be a severe blow to the major US biotech.
In California, activists are fighting to have GM products removed from the food supply. They are also pushing to pass Proposition 37, a law that would legally require genetically modified foods to be labeled as such. Monsanto is opposing the law and it has donated over $4.2 million to lobby against it. Over 2,000 farmers have petitioned the US government to more thoroughly investigate the impacts of the genetically modified corn crop from Monsanto.
After a French study suggested that rats fed on Monsanto GMO corn suffered tumors, Russian researches plan their own, this time public, experiment. The unique reality show with rats is expected to prove or deny GMO’s health-threatening influence.
The Russian scientists, who oppose genetically modified organisms (GMO) in food, expect that their year-long experiment will show whether the controversial cultivation process has effects as dangerous as French revelations claimed on September 19.
Scientists from France's University of Caen made public the results of their classified study, publishing the images of rats with tumors after they were fed a diet of genetically modified (GM) maize produced by American chemical giant Monsanto.
The revelation stirred fear across Europe and in Russia, where authorities temporarily suspended the import and sale of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn.
Russian researches from the National Association for Genetic Safety (NAGS) believe such experiments should be conducted publicly, so that people can see the process with their own eyes, and thus trust, or not, the study.
So they came up with the idea of public experiment. Web cameras, installed in cages with rats, will broadcast all stages of the experiment online. The unique reality show will be available on the Internet 24/7 worldwide.
“This is a unique experiment,” project author Elena Sharoykina told RT. “There hasn’t been anything like it before – open, public research by opponents and supporters of GMO.”
The idea behind the test is to feed several groups of rats with different food. One group will be fed with soybeans and corn with a high content of GMOs, while the other gets the same products, but with low GMO levels. The third will be given food with no GMO whatsoever, and the fourth with standard rat food.
For the sake of the purity of the experiment, employees who feed the rats will not know what kind of food they are giving.
Scientists expect to observe five generations of rats, if the rodents survive.
“It is hard to predict how animals will react,” Sharoykina said.
Such an experiment was initially planned to be held in 2006, but back then researchers failed to find financial support. So, they initiated another study, using hamsters. The scientists oversaw a few generations of the rodents and concluded that by the third generation, some of the animals became infertile.
To make the experiment objective, the group of scientists will also include supporters of GMOs and foreign experts.
The research is to be launched in March 2013, because the scientists still have to work out their methods, form a team and find funding.
The current project may cost up to $1 million. Scientists hope to find commercial sponsors, get grants from the government, or even raise some funds through public financing, for example, through the Internet.
Sharoykina says that if the experiment does prove the destructive influence on animals, it should be the pretext to banning GMOs in Russia.
“But we will have a chance to understand in what direction we should move,” she said. “If this research proves negative influence, and supporters of GMOs accept it, the next step should be a moratorium on products with GMOs in Russia.
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Prop 37 GMO Labeling Initiative Likely to Pass
Even if it passes it won't do any good. Monsanto has too many friends in high places. They will find a way to work around this. Monsanto is not just any company, it is at the top of the corporate fascist pyramid. What "you" want is irrelevant.