November 30, 2013 – Back in September 2012 I wrote about a European research study showing the results of a control group of rats being fed Monsanto genetically modified Roundup-tolerant corn. The rats developed massive tumors and the pictures of these unfortunate creatures hit the front pages of newspapers around the world. At the time a number of scientists raised issues with the rigor of the study. They asked why standard toxicology protocols weren’t followed, why the study was limited to a selective group of rats, what was the genetic makeup of the rats, and where were the results of the control group no fed the genetically modified corn.
Better than one year later the journal where the study appeared has withdrawn it from publication after doing a thorough review of the data provided by the researchers. The original study was sensationalized by its authors right from the beginning, becoming more a publicity stunt than valid science. And the result was a mobilizing of anti-genetically modified food evangelists who were able to create lots of political hay with temporary bans on GM products and research among countries of the European Union, Russia and Africa.
In the end the study was rejected for being scientifically unsound, using a control group of animals already predisposed to cancerous tumors, and reporting only selective data to represent a particular agenda, rather than sound science. The fallout from all of this was the spreading of fear, uncertainty and doubt and the image of industry run amok creating Frankenfoods.