Biotech Bullying: French Government Withdraws from Long-Term GMO Study

Has the biotech industry successfully scared another government silly, so much so that they are unwilling to carry out true scientific research on the long-term damage that GMOs could cause animals, people, and the environment? With the latest formal withdrawal of the CRIIGEN organization from a previously planned long-term GMO risk study, it seems so.

The ‘independent’ scientific research organization CRIIGEN was to follow up on the controversial GM maize study which looked at the herbicide RoundUp’s toxic effects on rats led by Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini. This was a short term study which pointed to some hideous outcomes, and the scientific community was divided on its efficacy in measuring the true effects of GMOs. In order to solidify its findings that GMOs cause tumors in rats, a longer term study was to be conducted.

The French government Risk’OGM project was intended to follow up on the Séralini findings. In April of this year, the government announced a budget allocation of 3.7 million Euros to the Risk’OGM project, which was more than Séralini’s total budget of 3 million Euros to carry out his first experiment.

Earth Open Source has learned from ANSES that the French authorities decided to fund a study which was only 6 months in length, even though a 2 year study would be incontrovertible within scientific circles.

The study, entitled “Improved predictability of sub-chronic GMO toxicity by identification of early biomarkers of toxicity” ANSES explained, “aims at improving the 90 day study [the length of Séralini’s first experiment] in order to better and earlier detect potential side effects. This 6-month study will be carried out using various kinds of ‘omics’ analyses.”

It seems the French government has aborted its initial intention to conduct a long term study that could have answered some important questions about the true toxicity of RoundUp, making it difficult for biotech companies to continue purporting that their chemicals are ‘safe,’ and thereby helping to halt their monopoly over agriculture.

The six-month study they proposed will only open up more ambiguity about RoundUp and would not definitively prove RoundUp’s toxicity. Though other studies, taken into consideration alongside the original Séralini study, make it obvious to most observers that GMOs are unsafe.

Depending on how the study is conducted, for example if both the control group and the treated group are given GMO diets, the study will essentially be another waste of time and money, and the results will be lost in ‘data noise.’

It will enable industry and pro-GMO lobbyists to continue to lie about GMO’s safety. It supports the number one rule of the GMO industry and its lobbyists when it comes to scientific studies looking at GMOs and pesticide risks: Don’t look, don’t find. Here’s why:

Don’t Look, Don’t Find
“Omics” analyses can indeed add valuable information to our knowledge of GMO and pesticide health effects, but only in retrospect, after serious diseases like tumors or organ damage have already appeared. Such “omics” analyses can then look more deeply at pathways and biological processes through which the diseases arose.

If initial signs of potential long-term toxicity are identified through “omics” analyses in a short or medium-term study of only 3-6 months but the study is not extended to see whether any serious disease actually appears, then those initial signs can be easily dismissed as “not biologically relevant”.

This tactic was also used by GMO proponents and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as well as Monsanto to dismiss early signs of toxicity in Monsanto’s NK603 maize. It was only tested for 90 days. The dismissal of its toxicity using such a short ‘omics’ study led to the maize being approved.

Differing from France, the EU has announced a 2-year carcinogenicity study on NK603 maize to follow up on the Séralini findings. There are no protocols for publishing the findings of this new study, though.

Governments everywhere must be shaking in their boots if they won’t even conduct a true study to either refute or support Séralini’s 2012 findings. Biotech must have wiggled their way into their bad dreams, or heavily lined government official’s pockets, once again. Perhaps a few millionaire philanthropists can conduct a study to put GMOs to death once and for all.