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Letter at Length

 Posted: 2:00 AM December 06, 2013

Study retracted: I smell a rat

As I was sitting down to breakfast I opened The Daily Tidings and read "Journal retracts study showing GMO-cancer link". What a relief! Now I could eat my breakfast cornflakes with high-fructose corn syrup worry-free!

Ever since my Aunt Maudeline, a sturdy Iowa farm woman, blurted out that Roundup was giving folks cancer, I have had this naggling little worry. Of course I felt even worse when Professor Seralini's paper was published in September 2012 linking GMO maize to cancerous tumors in rats.

But now the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology published by Elsevier is retracting its support of the study — too few rats and the wrong kind! On a crazy whim, I decided to google "Monsanto and Elsevier."


1. Richard Goodman, a long time employee of Monsanto, was suddenly brought on board as senior editor after the Seralini study was first released. The previous senior editor had been more neutral regarding the study.

2. There is a huge outrage in the scientific community about the way this important work linking GMOs to tumors has been unfairly and incorrectly debunked. In "Seralini and Science; an Open Letter" (Science News), scientists from all over the world are expressing outrage and alarm about the distortions of science in a world dominated by corporate influence.

3. Seralini and colleagues are just the latest researchers whose findings have triggered orchestrated campaigns of harassment. Examples from just the last few years include Ignacio Chapela, assistant professor at Berkeley, whose paper on GM contamination of maize in Mexico (Quist and Chapela, 2001) sparked an intensive Internet-based campaign to discredit him.

Then I remembered, Oh, right! We have an election coming up about banning GMO crops in our county this spring. I wonder if that, and challenges in other parts of the country, explains this loud debunking.

Puzzling too is that the retraction by Elsevier named the use of overly tumor prone rats, yet the Sprague-Dawley rats are the standard for Monsanto and Syngenta testing and nobody raises a ruckus about that

I put away my corn flakes. We're not out of the maize fields yet. And, I smell a rat.

Zoe Alowan


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