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EFSA to deliver key GM cancer study verdict next week

By Mike Stones , 26-Sep-2012

The food safety watchdog will give a preliminary ruling on the controversial GM research next week

The food safety watchdog will give a preliminary ruling on the controversial GM research next week

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has promised to deliver next week its preliminary review of controversial research linking Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), and the glyphosate-tolerant genetically modified maize NK603 to cancer in rats.

A scientific review of the research – led by Professor Giles-Eric Séralini – will be published first, to be followed by a second assessment.

If information gaps are identified, the food safety watchdog said it would contact the authors to request further details of the two-year study.

EFSA said the research would also be discussed with member states' food safety agencies and with national representatives attending its Advisory Forum this week.

Cancers

The research − led by Professor Giles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen− claimed that rats exposed to glyphosate and glyphosate tolerant maize, NK603, developed cancers in the form of mammary tumours plus liver and kidney damage.

Half of the males and 70% of females died prematurely, compared with only 30% and 20% respectively in the control group, claimed the researchers. Their research was published recently in the Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal.

But leading scientists have disputed the findings. Dr Wendy Harwood, senior scientist, John Innes Centre, said: "The full data set has not been made available, but the findings do not contradict previous findings that genetic modification itself is a neutral technology, with no inherent health or environmental risks.”

For more about the row which has followed the publication of the study, click here .

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