“Rats exposed to even the smallest amounts of Roundup and NK603 Roundup-
tolerant corn developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage.”
- Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini, Ph.D., Universite de Caen, France
Large cancerous tumors on white mice fed NK603 Roundup-tolerant
genetically modified corn or given water containing Roundup at levels permitted
in drinking water. This is the first medical study to examine long-term effects of
Monsanto's Roundup herbicide and NK603 Roundup-resistant GMO
corn created by Monsanto. CRIIGEN research led by Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini
published September 19, 2012, in Food and Chemical Toxicology.
Food and Chemical Toxicology, September 19, 2012.
Reprint October 13, 2013 - September 27, 2012 Oakland, California - According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, in 2011 the percent of corn crops in America that contain some form of genetic engineering is 96% . Most of that genetic engineering is Monsanto's Roundup-resistant corn in which the Roundup NK603 herbicide is built into the plant.
Until the journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology on September 19, 2012, published the 2-year-study of Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini and his university colleagues in France and Italy, most previous studies of Roundup have been only 90 days. In addition to the issue of short timelines, the GMO/pesticide industry has been allowed to manage and report their own studies. That includes Monsanto. So, what kind of honest reality check are citizens getting about the safety of eating genetically engineered corn and crops that contain built-in herbicides?
In this new French and Italian research, ten groups each containing ten male and ten female rats were studied from 2010 to 2012. Three of those ten rat groups were given Monsanto's Roundup in their drinking water at three different concentrations that could be found in crops sprayed with Roundup. Three groups of rats were fed diets of Roundup-resistant corn. And three rat groups were given both Roundup in water and in genetically engineered corn. A control group was given the same amounts of water and corn that did not have Roundup.
The scientists reported that up to 50% of the males and 70% of the female rats fed the Roundup diet died prematurely compared to 20% to 30% of the control group. The Roundup-fed rats also developed two to three times more large cancers than the control group and some cancers showed up as early as four months of the Roundup diet. The lead scientist, Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini told reporters, “After one year, there was a high increase in the number of tumors.”
The hope was that this first longer-term study by European scientists might add more objective data. The first headlines were, "Study Links GM Corn and Roundup to Premature Death and Cancer in Rats." But a week after the research was published, other media such as CBS News, SLATE, Forbes, BBC and New Scientist were reporting that some other scientists are criticizing the study's methodology. For example, the BBC was told that the photographs of rats with large tumors is misleading because the species of rats used in the research are known for their tendency to develop breast tumors when they eat a lot of food, even if it is Roundup free.
Professor Seralini stands by their 2-year-research. Monsanto's media director declined to do an on-the-record audio interview, but sent me the corporation's written statement that begins:
MONSANTO RESPONDS TO FRENCH RAT STUDY
Monsanto has now evaluated the study, and here is the company’s summary response:
This study does not meet minimum acceptable standards for this type of scientific research, the findings are not supported by the data presented, and the conclusions are not relevant for the purpose of safety assessment.
Toxicologists and public health experts find fundamental problems with the study design. Critical information about how the research was conducted is absent, and the data presented do not support the author’s interpretations.
[ See Websites below for entire Monsanto response. ]
93% of Americans Polled Want GE Labeling
Recent nationwide polls show that 93% of Americans support genetically modified labeling. The issue is enormous because an estimated 80% of processed foods in U.S. stores now are likely to contain genetically modified ingredients, but consumers are not aware of which products to avoid because labeling is not mandatory. In total, seventeen states are looking at labeling GM foods from corn to fish. California's Senator Barbara Boxer and Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio recently authored a bicameral Congressional letter in support of the Center for Food Safety’s (CFS) legal petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demanding that the agency require the labeling of GE foods. In asking for support from their fellow members of Congress, Baxter and DeFazio argued that:
Opponents of providing consumers this basic right to information will argue that it will only confuse consumers, be costly, or imply that the products are unsafe. Yet, the FDA requires the labeling of over 3,000 ingredients, additives, and processes. Providing basic information doesn’t confuse the public - it empowers them to make choices. Absent labeling, consumers will continue to be deceived by current labeling practices. For example, nearly 80% of processed foods on supermarket shelves contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, many marketed with labels such as “all natural” and “natural.”
Disregarding nearly 100% of Americans, who want genetically engineered food clearly labeled, the U. S. Senate in June 2012 voted 73 to 26 against federal mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods.
California Proposition 37 Right to Know
Label genetically engineered foods.
One American group that is worried about the long-term health effects of eating genetically engineered foods is Yes On Proposition 37 in California. Proposition 37 gathered nearly a million signatures this year to put to voters an initiative on the California November 6th ballot that would make it mandatory to label genetically engineered fish, crops and foods to clearly separate them in supermarkets and grocery stores from foods that are not genetically engineered. The GMO specialist working for Yes On Proposition 37 in Oakland, California, is Stacy Malkan. For the past twenty years, Tracy has worked as an environmental health advocate and is the author of the book, Not Just A Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry that describes the impacts of toxic chemicals in personal care products.
Play MP3 interview.
Stacy Malkan, GMOs Specialist, Yes On Proposition 37, Oakland, California: “This study is very concerning and raises many, many questions. One of the important ones is: Why is this the first long-term animal study that we’re seeing on this very common corn that’s in the American food supply. About 80% of the type of genetically engineered corn in the U. S. is this type of corn that was used in this study. This is the first long-term animal study looking at impacts and it’s very concerning.
They found serious health effects. The researchers said that the health effects started at about four months and later. The reason that is significant is because all of the animal studies that the (corporate) industry has done – if they do them at all – have been these 90 day studies. And they did find in this new longer-term study serious liver and kidney effects and also found tumors and those started later on at the four months and later range. So it all points to the fact that it is very important to be doing these long-term studies to determine what are the long-term life time feeding impacts of eating these genetically engineered foods.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT TOOK UNTIL 2012 FOR ANYONE TO REPORT – IN THIS CASE, IT’S A TWO-YEAR STUDY THAT STARTED IN 2010 – ABOUT: ARE GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS WITH ROUNDUP BUILT INTO THEM GENETICALLY SAFE FOR ANYONE TO EAT?
The answer to that is that we don’t know because this is the first long-term study. Why has this not been studied? And to your question about the why – we know why. The reason is because the U. S. Food and Drug Administration has not required any mandatory safety studies of genetically engineered food – corn, soy and a handful of crops that are genetically engineered. They are in lots of processed foods, yet there has been no mandatory safety study, no independent requirements for safety studies. It’s essentially up to the industry to decide how to do the studies and what to report? That’s one issue – no government regulation.
Another very serious issue relating to this industry in particular is because of the patents of these foods that Monsanto holds and the other biotech companies they also get to control their research. They can say who does the research, how it is done and what research ever sees the light of day. So they are controlling and suppressing their research and that’s hugely concerning. We need to see rigorous, independent scientific studies on this industry to really know what is going on. In the meantime, while they sort that out, let’s at least label these foods and give consumers the right to know.
The fact that we’re even having to fight for this in California - and it is a huge fight! Monsanto and the chemical companies are putting tens of millions of dollars into trying to stop us from even getting to know that our food has genetically engineered ingredients – even though 50 other countries already require this labeling. We’re in a huge fight about it here because these companies have been so powerful. They’ve been able to dictate what the federal government does. The corporations are controlling the research and now they are telling the consumers of California and America, ‘You don’t even have the right to know. We’re not going to tell you whether your food is genetically engineered.
What’s happened here is there is just a grassroots movement that has built up that says, ‘We’re not going to take it!’ And it’s largely moms and grandmothers, who are out on the streets petitioning to get Proposition 37 on the ballot, which they did with almost a million signatures. And now California voters will be able to decide on this on November 6th: Do we have the right to know what’s in our food?
CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT EXACTLY WILL HAPPEN IF YOUR BALLOT INITIATIVE PASSES?
When we pass Proposition 37, what will happen is that companies will be required to label food if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. And so, you would see a label on the package of food sold in California that said, ‘Partially produced with genetic engineering. Or in the case of a whole food – and there are not many whole foods at all right now – it is mostly processed foods that contain the GMOs – with the exception of a little bit of squash and papaya.
Monsanto’s New GMO
Sweet Corn in Stores, Summer 2012
“The built-in insect protection comes from a Bt protein
that naturally occurs in the environment. BT proteins are
considered an environmentally friendly way to control insects,
because they target specific insect pests and have no adverse
effect on beneficial insects.” - Monsanto
2012 Monsanto GM Sweet Corn with genetically engineered
protein insecticide. Image by Monsanto.
Just as of this 2012 summer, Monsanto’s sweet corn, which is engineered to contain a (protein) insecticide within it – and also to be a Roundup Ready type of corn (with herbicide built in genetically), it is on store shelves now. So corn-on-the-cob that looks the same as regular corn is not the same as the corn we’ve been eating all our lives if you buy it at Walmart because it’s the genetically engineered type that just hit the market this summer. In the case of that corn, right now we have no way of knowing which corn is genetically engineered or not. But if Proposition 37 passes, there would be a sign on the bin of that corn that says, ‘Genetically Engineered.’
Shouldn't Genetically Engineered
Foods Be Labeled?
HOW MANY STATES CURRENTLY DEMAND THAT THERE BE LABELING OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS?
Just one. It’s Alaska and they require labeling only of genetically engineered fish. That’s also an extremely current and relevant issue because the first genetically engineered fish is in the pipeline for imminent approval for the genetically engineered salmon and it’s been engineered to include the DNA of an eel into the salmon so the salmon will grow twice as fast.
And that’s just another great example to think about when you’re at the supermarket looking at salmon. You get to see if it’s wild-caught or farm-raised and where it comes from. And we certainly have a right to know about an entirely new salmon that’s never existed in the human food supply before that’s been genetically engineered in a lab.
We do have a right to know, so if Proposition 37 passes, that salmon that is genetically engineered would say, ‘Genetically Engineered.’
MEANWHILE, THE BIGGER ISSUE: SHOULD WE EVEN HAVE GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS THAT HAVE ROUNDUP AND OTHER HERBICIDES BUILT INTO THEM GENETICALLY - SHOULD THEY EVEN BE ALLOWED IN THE UNITED STATES OR AROUND THE WORLD?
Well, that is a question that is certainly a big, important question for us. It’s such an urgent need for more studies that answer the questions about what are the health impacts? There are also serious concerns around environmental impacts. We’re seeing an overall increase in pesticide use with unintentional contamination of organic crops. There was a USDA report out just a couple of weeks ago about how to compensate organic farmers for their farms being ruined and the government actually looking at taxpayer-subsidized insurance as a way to do it rather than telling Monsanto and the biotech companies that they created this problem, so they should clean it up.
I mean, it’s just incredible what we see as the amount of power these companies have over the government. So many issues of deep concern are around genetic engineering. And what’s happening here in California is about transparency. Like let’s at least start with giving consumers the Right To Know for Genetically Engineered foods and let the market sort itself out that way. It’s a step that 50 other countries already took many years ago – all of Europe, Japan, and China, Russia. India just passed a law to require labeling of genetically engineered food starting next year.
So, the U. S. is really behind and we need to catch up. We believe the only way it’s going to happen is through direct citizens’ initiatives like we have in California and take it to the voters, who we believe will say ‘Yes,’ on November 6th, ‘we want the right to at least know what is in our food!’
IF THE BALLOT INITIATIVE DOES NOT PASS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Well, if the ballot initiative does not pass, I think this is unstoppable. If it doesn’t happen here in California, it will happen. The American people are waking up. There are so many questions about genetic engineering. There are many other states looking at both legislative approaches and also ballot initiatives for labeling.
ISN’T IT FAIR TO SAY THAT THE WHOLE COUNTRY EXPOSED TO GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS SUCH AS CORN THAT HAS ROUNDUP-RESISTANT HERBICIDE BUILT INTO THEM GENETICALLY, ARE LIKE A LAB TEST – A POPULATION THAT HAS NO CHOICE; THAT WE ARE BEING EXPOSED TO GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS AND FISH WITHOUT US, THE PUBLIC, REALLY HAVING ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THAT FOOD, BUT IS PRESENTED TO US IN STORES TO PURCHASE TO PUT IN OUR BODIES AND MAYBE 20 YEARS FROM NOW, WE WILL FIND IT WAS A TERRIBLE MISTAKE AND THAT THE WHOLE POPULATION HAS SUFFERED.
Well, absolutely we are all lab rats in a giant experiment that has not been studied not anywhere near adequately, not anywhere near independently or rigorously. It’s just like ‘Let’s genetically engineer the food system because we can to make money and let’s control the research because we can and we’ll also exercise our influence over the federal government to keep people from knowing about it or studying it!’
And here we are now 6 weeks away from I think one of the most important election issues we will ever face in our lives in California.
IT WOULD SEEM IRONICALLY ANTI-AMERICAN IF AN AMERICAN CORPORATION COMPLETELY IGNORES MEDICAL DATA ABOUT A PRODUCT THAT IT’S PRODUCING TO GO INTO PEOPLES’ MOUTHS, BLOODSTREAMS AND CELLS THAT CAN BE PROVED TO BE DANGEROUS - BUT THE AMERICAN COMPANY ARGUES THAT FOR THE SAKE OF PROFITS THAT THEY CONTINUE TO CONTAMINATE THE WORLD WITH GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS FOR A BOTTOM LINE.
Well, unfortunately the system we have is that companies really only are accountable to their bottom line and not to public health and the environment – that what we’re doing to the environment, we are doing to our own bodies. It’s the same poisons running through the rivers that are running through our veins and our breast milk – and even being found in every baby born on Earth. They can now analyze the umbilical cored blood of newborn infants finding hundreds of synthetic chemicals. So we don’t know what the health impact of that is, but we know now that it is happening. We can’t separate these issues. Pouring pesticides all over the fields does impact bees; does impact humans. It’s something we have to deal with and not just leave up to the corporations to decide whatever they want to do based on profits. That’s not a system that is sustainable.”
For further reports about genetically engineered crops, please see Earthfiles Archive. Some examples below.
• 01/27/2012 — GMOs Have Created Stronger Weeds - Now “Agent Orange” Toxin Under Consideration As Next Stronger Weed Poison
• 03/25/2010 — GMO Seed Prices Skyrocket and Justice Department Investigates Monsanto for Antitrust Violation
• 03/22/2007 — Genetically Modified Crops: Playing Dangerous Genetic Roulette?
• 03/17/2007 — Honey Bee Disappearances Continue: Could Pesticides Play A Role?
• 02/23/2007 — Scientists Hope "Amphibian Arks" Can Save Frogs and Toads