The National Corn Growers Association has reviewed the paper published by a group of researchers that questions the safety of Roundup Ready corn and glyphosate. NCGA has concluded that the research is questionable and does not offer credible evidence that biotechnology in agriculture negatively impacts animal health. According to NCGA President Garry Niemeyer – there has actually been a strong backlash against the validity of the study in the scientific community. Even vocal biotechnology critics have spoken out against the research and its findings. Some are questioning how it was ever published. He says NCGA is joining these respected academics in questioning the methods used and conclusions drawn. Niemeyer says the group is hopeful the public will see the study is an agenda-driven attack on agriculture and not a scientifically-valid study.
The Long-Term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant Genetically Modified Maize was published in Food and Chemical Toxicology. The paper claims that in a two-year feeding study – rats fed Roundup-ready corn and .1 parts per billion glyphosate had unusual tumor development and early death. But NCGA and the scientific community note the breed of rodent used is prone to developing tumors at roughly two years of age. Therefore – the rodents selected were likely to develop tumors by the completion of the trial regardless of diet.
In addition to other trial design flaws – NCGA finds issue with the conclusions drawn from the study as they are not statistically supported. According to NCGA – the statistical relevance of the study itself is questionable. The researchers used very small, unequal sample sizes for the treated and control groups. Because the researchers have declined to make the control group data available – attempts to review the data and draw accurate statistical conclusions have been fruitless.
NCGA says it’s imperative that public awareness of the study’s discretization in the scientific community grows rapidly – as proponents of the California ballot initiative that would require a variety of increased food labeling are using the flawed study as evidence of the ill-effects of biotechnology.
Official Monsanto response
Monsanto Responds to French Rat Study
Earlier this week, a study conducted by a French university team was published by Food and Chemical Toxicology, and claimed to have found negative health effects in laboratory rats fed a diet of GM corn. Numerous scientists have examined the study and posted or published comments about it.
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. Among the key shortcomings are:
• Research protocol does not meet OECD standards
• Source and quality of corn used is unclear.
• Critical details on diet preparation and dietary intake are absent.
• Complete lack of data pertaining to assertions of liver or kidney histopathology, liver function tests, and cytochrome activity.
• Lack of any statistical analysis for mortality or tumor incidence endpoints.
• Mortality rates and tumor incidence in all groups fall within historical norms for this strain of laboratory rats, which is known for a high incidence of tumors.
• Data presented are highly sporadic, using different methods for male and female animals, and are not sufficient to support conclusions drawn.
• There is a lack of dose-response relationship throughout the study.
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. Extensive animal and in-vitro (test-tube) data has demonstrated that glyphosate does not cause cancer or tumors, nor is an endocrine disrupter. This study does not provide information which calls into question the extensive safety evaluations of glyphosate or Roundup herbicides.