European food authority criticises rat study linking GM maize with tumours


A CONTROVERSIAL study linking a type of genetically modified (GM) maize with tumours in rats has been described as “of insufficient scientific quality” by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The authority issued an initial review of the study yesterday and said it found “that the design, reporting and analysis of the study, as outlined in the paper, are inadequate”.

The paper, by Gilles-Eric Séralini and colleagues from the University of Caen, said rats fed on Monsanto’s NK603 GM corn or exposed to its Roundup glyphosate weedkiller were at higher risk of suffering tumours, multiple organ damage and premature death.

The European Commission asked the EFSA to evaluate the paper. The authority said the researchers had not complied with internationally recognised protocols for setting up and carrying out experiments.

It said the strain of rats used was prone to developing tumours but this was not mentioned by the authors.

“The numerous issues relating to the design and methodology of the study as described in the paper mean that no conclusions can be made about the occurrence of tumours in the rats tested,” the authority said.