Authors of study linking GM corn with rat tumors manipulated media to prevent criticism of their work

Earlier today, I posted on the recent paper that claims to have found a link between eating genetically modified corn and the growth of tumors in rats. Short version: The research sucked. It's a terribly done study and it demonstrates why "peer reviewed" does not always mean "accurate".

But now, this story is getting worse. Turns out, the authors of the study (and their financial sponsor, The Sustainable Food Trust) manipulated the media to ensure that the first news stories published about the study would not be critical of its methods or results.

First, some background. When a journal is about to publish a study that they think will be big news, they usually offer the full study to reporters under an embargo system. The reporter gets to read the study, do their reporting, and write a story ... but they can't publish that story until a specific day at a specific time. If you're a daily or an online publication, there's a lot of pressure to have your story ready to go the moment the embargo lifts. Otherwise, you'll look like you weren't on the ball. There's a lot of problems with this system, but it's very common.

What's not common: Forcing journalists to sign non-disclosure agreements promising to not show the study they're reporting on to any independent researchers or outside experts. If you're trying to make sure your publication runs a story on the study right when the embargo lifts, but you can't show the study to any third-party experts before the embargo lifts, then the story you run is going to (inevitably) contain only information the authors of the study want you to talk about. It ceases being journalism and becomes PR.

This is what the authors of the GM corn/rat tumor study did.

At Embargo Watch (an excellent blog that discusses issues with the embargo system as a whole) Ivan Oransky explains that we know this happened because the reporters forced to sign the agreement talked about it in their stories:

As the AFP noted in their original story, since updated:

Breaking with a long tradition in scientific journalism, the authors allowed a selected group of reporters to have access to the paper, provided they signed confidentiality agreements that prevented them from consulting other experts about the research before publication.

My Reuters colleagues described the embargo agreement in a similar way:

In an unusual move, the research group did not allow reporters to seek outside comment on their paper before its publication in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology and presentation at a news conference in London.

So did the BBC:

In a move regarded as unusual by the media, the French research group refused to provide copies of the journal paper to reporters in advance of its publication, unless they signed non-disclosure agreements. The NDAs would have prevented the journalists from approaching third-party researchers for comment.

To their credit, the reporters at the three outlets I cite above went back and refiled their stories with comment from scientists unrelated to the study, and from Monsanto, once the embargo lifted. But the Sustainable Food Trust knew damn well reporters would be under pressure to file something the moment the embargo lifted — especially since this was an embargo likely to be broken, as it was — and that their hands would be tied as far as outside comment.

The authors of that study, and The Sustainable Food Trust, deliberately tried to make sure that the first stories you read about their study didn't tell you how bad the study was.

Guys, that's messed up.

And, again, just as with Emily Sohn's story at Discover, neither the authors of the study nor The Sustainable Food Trust replied to Ivan Oransky's request for an interview.

Read the rest of the story at Embargo Watch

In lighter news, I have decided to begin referring to this scandal as "Corn Maze".

Image: corn maze, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from andy_emcee's photostream


  1. Strange. Given the criticisms of the study I expected these scientists to have been open and honest about their results.

    1. What’s strange is this coming out just before the California vote.    Something smells.  I’m sure this is going to be all over the California media.   This will be spun as proof GMOs are safe and don’t need to be labelled.  This stupid episode definitely does not prove health or environmental safety of GMOs but the media is stupid and will be easily manipulated.

      1. Uhm – you might want to re-read the article. It’s the anti-GMO scientists who set the timing and are manipulating the media.

        This stupid episode definitely does not prove health risks of GMOs but the media is stupid and will be easily manipulated.

        1. You don’t get my point.  The Monsantos of the world will use this screw up to dismiss all concerns for GMOs.  This screwed up study does not in anyway invalidate the environmental and health concerns, but as the media did in the fake ClimateGate incidence, they will use this to dismiss all legitimate concerns.

          1. It will be used as an excuse for Monsanto-friendly media to cherry pick studies, the way they always do.  If we’re gonna talk about media manipulation, how about the kind that comes with millions of dollars in advertising?

          2. What we learn from this:

            Don’t screw up. even for a “good” cause.
            Don’t try to cover it up by bulls*it like this. Even for a good cause.
            It is going to backfire. Always. And it’s going to make you and all your future research look bad. 

            It’s just hard to believe that someone still hasn’t learned how it will end up??? After all the “whatever-gates” we’ve had…

          3.  They didn’t ‘screw up’ for a good cause. They set about consciously to deceive ‘for a good cause.’ You can’t do work that grotesquely bad without knowing it.It’s like driving on the wrong side of the highway with a blindfold on – you can’t very well say you ‘made a mistake.’

          4. The problem is that like in climate science, there are those that have opinions that contrast against the vast scientific consensus.  Take a good look in the mirror. You might be one of the kooks. 

            As someone that has studied the field for 25+ years, I have yet to read a compelling story that documents harm from these products (other than those also affecting conventionally-bred crops, like resistance to herbicides etc). 

            Studies like the one cited before are bad for the anti movement in two ways.  1. they build arguments based on goofy data and 2. Individuals that decide this is quality science are deemed laughable at best in scientific venues. 

            There always should be watchdogs, especially where big corps and $$ are concerned– but attack the company, not the good science. Better yet, lower restrictions on the science and regulation so that more can compete against the Big Ag Monsters. That’s the real solution. 

          5.  Ummm… why not dismiss it if there is no evidence? Because you and most other people are comfortable with hating on a piece of technology which may very well one day FEED THE WORLD.

          6. Just like we’re providing medical care to the whole world. What’s that? People are dying of preventable illnesses in the Third World because they don’t have access to health care? And in the United States, too?

            But just because millions die without healthcare because it’s a for-profit industry surely doesn’t mean that millions will continue to starve just because agribusiness is a for-profit industry. Right? I mean, it’ll all be different, right?

    2. Uh, why? They’re apparently lazy and sloppy. If they cared about their research they wouldn’t have approached it from the same angle.

    3.  The study was good and I’m happy for those folks who did. Monsanto owns Obama and controls  the DEA. 100 rats were fed with GMO corn and in the control group 100 rats were fed with non GMO corn. 80% of the GMO corn fed rats got tumors. I don’t want their GMO poison and 90% of us in Europe don’t want it and yet the American Monsanto controlled government want’s us to buy GMO food and is refusing to label it. Americans have the right to know if their food is GMO or not. LABEL it! Here you see the corruption very clearly:

      1. 100 rats were fed with GMO corn and in the control group 100 rats were fed with non GMO corn. 80% of the GMO corn fed rats got tumors.

        What study are you reading from? If it’s the one discussed above, filled with scientific errors, then you’re not even reading the results right.

  2. Peer review is vital.  But (as one that’s experienced it on both sides) it is sadly often a matter of ‘Friend review’.  I’m aware of more than a couple grand profs who would never permit one of their papers to be sent to any but former postdocs.   “but how can they control to whom it’s sent?” they’re buddies with the particular journal’s editorial board.  cronyism is a bane of every walk of life. Good science journalism [pull-o-forelock to Ms Koerth-Baker] is good medicine for this.

    1. It is the exception rather than the rule.  A rare exception. Plus, editors do not exclusively follow author guidance on reviewer selection (I usually select one of their suggestions if they are appropriate and not collaborators).  The real test is the scientific field. When junk is published it never is repeated. It never grows. it never becomes parts of reviews and larger understanding.

      You might note that Seralini’s papers rely on self-citation almost exclusively for all claims of GM harm.  That’s a sure sign that something is askew.

  3. Doesn’t matter. The anti-GMO crowd will be repeating this for years anyway. As science, it’s horrible, but as propaganda it’s entirely fit to order.

    1. I also think this is a boon to the GMO industry crowd who’ll be repeating this flawed study as evidence of a “conspiracy” against them and further muddle the waters of science that legitimately questions the safety and sustainability of GMO’s within our food chain.

        1. Not to mention the inside baseball journalism problems here. I mean, it’s great that the AP, et. al, included this info and later updated the stories. 

          But why wasn’t the story, to begin with, “Hey, these guys tried to jerk us around.” Why play ball at all on this thing? 

          1. OK, its appears the relevant phrase here is “inside baseball”, not “baseball journalism”. And my ignorance is hilarious given the meaning of the phrase.

          2. But why wasn’t the story, to begin with, “Hey, these guys tried to jerk us around.” Why play ball at all on this thing?

            I figure for similar reasons that the media spread that Monsanto-funded study far and wide that dissed on organic food without telling the entire story?



          3. Those are not remotely similar stories, nor is the huffpost a reliable source of criticism on anything science given their own ideological biases.

            This story is the case of about the worst science possible, Andrew Wakefield level corrupt study to push an ideology.  The Huffpost piece on the Stanford study spends a great deal of time playing up meta-elements like outside funding because when it comes down to it while the study itself is hardly conclusive, it wasn’t actually bad science.

          4. while the study itself is hardly conclusive, it wasn’t actually bad science.

            I didn’t say anything about the validity of the science; I talked about the validity of the media. Once again, I said that the media spread the organic food study without telling the entire story.

            Those are not remotely similar stories

            The media pushing around sensationalist headlines that do more to influence than inform? That’s a very similar story to me. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that.

            nor is the huffpost a reliable source of criticism on anything science

            Perhaps take a look at their roughly 15 links from their article, use critical thinking and then make your own mind up? That’s what I did, anyway. Or you can roundly denounce that article as a poor source without any backup, it’s up to you.

          5. First, it was not a Monsanto-funded study. Second, it did not “diss” organic food.  Third, it told a whole story based on a tested hypothesis using a meta-analysis.  The fact that you don’t like the results does not make the outcome incorrect. It is a meta-analysis. It has limitations, and it was built on data from 230some other studies funded by all kinds of sources. 

            You are precisely the problem of why the anti-GMO movement has no credibility. You make stuff up, and it is easily refuted. 

            Go back and read the Stanford study. I’ll be glad to send it to you and walk you through it if you have questions. No problem. 

          6. First, it was not a Monsanto-funded study

            I stand corrected that the study was not DIRECTLY funded by Monsanto. But, there’s weasely ways to get around that, isn’t there?

            Educate yourself:

            Hey, maybe if you ignore things like this, you too can become a Distinguished Fellow at Stanford AND you can end up sitting on the Board of Directors at Monsanto like George Henry Poste did?

            Educate yourself:

            Or, we can simply shove our collective heads in the sand, I suppose. Yep, it’s not like the researchers involved ever helped the tobacco industry FUD machine or anything in the past.


            The fact that you don’t like the results does not make the outcome incorrect.

            Once again, (as I’ve said again and again) I haven’t disputed the results of the study. You must have hallucinated that. You make stuff up and it’s easily refuted by reading what I said previously. Try it.

            it told a whole story based on a tested hypothesis using a meta-analysis

            Kevin, the people behind the study even admit it doesn’t tell the whole story, but the sensationalist stories and headlines pumped by the media didn’t bother with such details. Go back and read interviews with them. I’ll be glad to send links to you and walk you through it if you have questions. Or maybe just take a gander at the links I’ve already presented below and READ through it. No problem.

            You are precisely the problem of why the anti-GMO movement

            You screwed up again. I’m not anti-GMO, I’m anti-FUD and the way the half-ass study was easily manipulated by the media was pure FUD.

            Sorry to deflate you, but I think GMO’s are great in many circumstances.

          7. Josh Brown-White is correct here. That organic food study wasn’t bad science. It was bad hype that made the science out to be something it wasn’t. Big difference.

            That was my point, Maggie.  The study took organic food out of context and the media rolled with it.  All in all, very convenient study for the headlines that were spawned from it.

            The media’s message was clear; Organic food isn’t healthier for you.  End of story.  Great fodder for FUD and it worked in spades.

  4. Too bad that one rushed “sky is falling” study is out there, yes.  But this is a drop in the bucket compared against the swell of disinformation, obfuscation, and lies that are perpetually spewed out of the for-profit BigAg/petro-chemical companies that are poisoning the heck out of our fragile little blue marble.  Monsanto, Dow, Bayer and their ilk don’t serve anyone but their shareholders, and the revolving doors between US government and private companies are paving the way to total environment collapse.  Yes, that’s dramatic – but the amount of toxins in our environment, that are released unchecked, are atrocious.  Regulation?  none…

    CA is still going to vote yes on prop 37 – the people still have a voice and we’d better use it!

    1. What sort of toxins?  Where are they being released?  What does “total environment[al] collapse” even mean?  That life will cease to exist on Earth?

      I think we need a little less hyperbole, and a little more rational discussion.

      1.  Sure thing Peter – DDT, Agent Orange, BT/RoundUp – all of these are out in the wild, and all have negative impact on our planet.  As soon as they’re manufactured, and sold, right away they’re seen as wonderful progress.  Then only after years of use are the problems uncovered.  An independent,  active and involved scientific community investigate these chemicals and lo and behold – Condors almost fully extinct, super bugs that are resistant to BT, etc…  

        The science is there – and yes, I may be emphatic, but I’m not slinging any lies here. 

        The unconstrained release of new molecules, from pesticides to pharmaceuticals, is of grave importance to the longevity of our species.  We’re a juvenile species that is just now discovering the range of our capabilities – what scares me is that it’s our sense of responsibility and wisdom that are lacking maturity.

        I’m no Luddite either – I believe technology is our best solution to yesterday’s bad technology.  We just can’t let the profiteers dominate any longer at the expense of our health.

        1. The SOLE problem with BT is that some moronic farmers use BT generating plants as their exclusive pest control rather than a mixed pest control strategy to reduce the likelihood of resistance.  That is not a flaw in the compound, or the companies engineering plants that use it, but in the farmers who use it badly. 

          BT itself is damn near a miracle in the pest control world – something that we can engineer plants to produce (i.e. no runoff concerns) that ONLY effects specific pest arthropods that have the receptors for BT while being utterly benign to helpful arthropods and vertebrates.  That’s sort of the holy grail of pest control for crops, and the only fly in the ointment as they say is the fact that the people actually using it do so incorrectly.  It should be one part of a staple of pest control tactics spanning everything from crop diversification to predator promotion, rather than a single panacea. 

          (and it isn’t like bugs that are resistant to BT are somehow super bug, they just lack the specific receptor for it, which is not terribly surprising considering the vast majority of organisms don’t have BT receptors – it’s not like the derive special powers from our yellow sun that make them more exceptional than run of the mill bugs)

          1. Though for anyone who thinks that puts me in “industrial crop control chemicals is awesome” camp – actually quite the opposite.  BT, in my mind, is a great breakthrough because the mechanism in which it conveys toxicity is very well understood (and limited to select arthropods) and because it means we can be significantly less reliant on the much more questionable compounds.  To me that’s the promise of GMO – not so we can move into some scary unknown, but so that we can phase out a whole lot of practices we know to suck.  It’s somewhat a shame that while the technique has a lot of promise, a lot of the business around it does not.

          2. Well put Josh.

            According to the National Academy of Sciences 2010 book about GMO crops, figures 2-7 and 2-8 show that Bt has cut pesticide use by 70-80%.  
            If that’s not a victory for the environment, what is? 

            Plus, it is funny that bt was always a godsend before it was built into transgenics. Now somehow it is evil.

        2. Sure thing Peter – DDT, Agent Orange, BT/RoundUp – all of these are out in the wild, and all have negative impact on our planet.

          See, this is the tricky thing about this issue for me. Personally, I doubt RoundUp resistant plants – the GMOs themselves – are likely to be a problem… but widespread RoundUp is scary. Not sure what camp that puts me in.

          1.  And what health studies have been done to make you think RoundUp resistance is safe?  They’ve never done any health studies.  I agree drowning these plants in RoundUp definitely makes it worse.

        3. Your response was a much less-hyperbolic, nuanced comment on an incredibly complex topic (i.e. how do we exert our control over the environment in a responsible way).  And I agree with nearly all of it.

          I was part of a research group a few years ago that was studying in-situ bioremediation of groundwater.  Part of the program was to inject bacteria into the groundwater at one borehole, then determine how that plume dispersed through the groundwater by taking samples from boreholes downstream.  We had planned to use a genetically modified bacteria that had been extensively studied, whose characteristics we knew very well, but were not allowed to because the bacteria was not “natural.”  So we ended up having to use a similar bacteria about which much less was known, and whose potential impact was not fully known, but because it was natural, it was deemed safer. In this case the intent of the regulation (keep everyone safe) was violated by the implementation of the regulation (no GMO usage).  

          You are absolutely correct in that we are the only species on Earth who have the capability to profoundly change the world around us, and that we would like to behave in a prescient enough manner to understand the ramifications of our actions.  Regulated independent research is likely our best hope of  understanding new technologies and safeguarding society from potentially dangerous chemicals and GMOs.  But we don’t want to hamstring progress with unnecessary regulations.  It will take smart people to discriminate the necessary from unnecessary regulations, and attain a happy medium where society is protected, and technological advances are not needlessly fettered.

          1. Well, we already behave Mittens-like concerning “natural” food varieties. It’s not like we waited until we had genome sequencing to approve Borlaug’s dwarf wheat.

    2. “But this is a drop in the bucket compared against the swell of disinformation, obfuscation, and lies that are perpetually spewed”

      Not really. There’s disinformation campaigns going on by quacks and scam artists on both sides.

  5. This always happens when strong opinions form before any hard, empirical evidence is available – the pursuit of the evidence becomes politicised.

    Sad all around.

      1. It’s even better than that. There are TWO books and 1 movie coming. First book, signed par Seralini (“Tous cobayes”:Éric-Séralini/dp/2081262363 ) The movie, by the same title, allegedly about the risks of nuclear and GMO, will include pictures of those huge tumours on rats. Those two are announced for September 26th
        And the second book is by the old-time collaborator of Seralini, Corinne Lepage: “La vérité sur les OGM”, has been published today. 

  6. Coincidentally I just saw a mention of this study: 

    Why Most Biomedical Findings Echoed by Newspapers Turn Out to be False: The Case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    As most of us know already, journalists most often publish exciting findings and ignore studies that debunk them.  This case appears to be one where that process was actively encouraged by the “researchers”.  

  7. When bad science is done and then covered up, it makes all scientists look bad.  This will be looked on by many as “proof” that GMOs are harmless.  Whereas in reality, it just provides no data whatsoever.  It just muddles an already complex issue.

    And just to be equally damning to both sides, I’m sure that others will see this as “proof” of a conspiracy from Big-Ag to cover up their malfeasance.

  8. Disclaimer: Rant Alert.

    I have made this a pet cause. I have been reading and writing about GMO for 12 years. Mostly in Spanish. When I was younger, I wanted to devote my career to develop new, better crops, but it was not an alternative for me, I ended up being a different kind of biologist. I have seen and heard, first had, the lies and stories that some anti-GMO people are willing to spread to stop GMO. I do not want to generalize, many anti GMO people might disagree with me, but they are not insincere. But, I know for a fact that there are others willing to lie in a shameless way and make wild claims that will scare people. I have heard and read, in my home city of Mérida, that GM papayas have “rat genes that cause the bubonic plague”. That bees “infected” with GM pollen will polinize other plants and eating the fruit from those will cause mother to have miscarriages and deformed babies. That urban legend about the KFC chicken coming from vats and causing Alzheimer and cancer: . I smelled a rat right away but some of my fellow sophomores in Biology thought it was true, until I pointed out the inconsistencies. That really scared me. If this obvious hoax could delude kids interested in science, how worse could it be for the average person? A relentless campaign of lies and misinformation destroyed the future of GM in Venezuela. It is illegal to do research on GM there. Technically, recombinant insulin is illegal since the bacteria that makes it has “human genes”, you could land in jail for five years for manufacturing it, if the law enforcers really understood what the law says and were willing to enforce the law. Are Venezuelan farmers doing better because of this? Has this policy ensured we are GMO free? Not at all. We import a lot of our food from Argentina, the world’s greatest producer of GM soy. So, the law is ham fisted and fails at what it is intended to do. But it really scared people and works to cement the association GM=evil.I have seen (real life) debate forums turned into madhouses, when people start making all sort of crazy, delusional claims, like blaming GMO  for deformations in rose bushes in New Zealand and that they are anti biblical, the Babylonians used them and that’s one of the reasons why God wiped them out. I have seen people reject flatly, in a dogmatic way every single possible benefit from GM crops. And this kind of people has been allowed to shape the debate all over. Sadly, the scientists were silent and absent of this debate during a long time. I am extremely happy to see this kind of vigorous response to extraordinary claims. In the case of my city in Venezuela, an experimental crop was burn to ashes, and the responsible scientists choose to remain silent. I heard later they were afraid they could go to jail, even if the anti-GM laws were approved years later. Most likely, they played loose with the permits. In any case, the bigots, the dogmatic and the crazy were left to speak unchallenged. I cannot say that the team here is lying, I have no proof of it. But that is my belief. They are acting in a very shady and possibly dishonest way. Had not I seen the modus operandi of the anti GM crowd, I would be really hesitant to even think that they are lying or rigged the results. But after having witnessed the nasty tricks some of these people use, it is really hard for me this is all a honest mistake.I am glad that the community, my community, is reacting swiftly, and I am glad, Maggie, that you are working hard to make this subject understandable by non-specialists who might be open to a different point of view if explained carefully. When we remain silent the extremists and liars win the debates.PS: To those claiming this is just like the global warming debate: Not at all. The scientific community has nothing like the consensus among whether scientists backing the claim that genetic engineering is dangerous per se.

  9. It is common knowledge that profit driven corporate-military manipulations of complex systems including food, energy and weather threaten the very survival of the species. Hollywood films use the premise all the time and we see it as conspiracy and fiction not as reality. In reality GE invented the accident of Fukushima Daichi by putting its waste fuel pools on top of their reactors. This choice was to save money. In reality Monsanto invented the scourge of “superweeds” by arrogantly insisting their product was stronger than nature. This was to dominate seed markets. In response to Monsanto’s superweed “accident” DOW chemical is here to save the world with a 2-4-D killer pesticide resistant seed. DOW is in effect upping the plant based arms race with nature itself. This is to gain market share from Monsanto where billions are at stake. BP used corexit to clean up their oil spill “accident” in the gulf creating a corexit-oil combination far more toxic than either separately. They made the choice of corexit because it was cheapest for them.  Regarding GMO’s the dumbest farmer on the planet knows that the superweed is a disaster and that DOW is just more of the same yet supposedly “smart” scientist like Maggie Korth Baker are still sitting on the fence looking for doubt instead of invoking the precautionary principle. Maggie is consistently writing to her “uneducated and confused” non-science audience to raise doubts about any argument against the corporate agenda when it comes to science. Maggie wants to protect the world against bad science while ironically enabling and defending the worst science has to offer.. unbridled greed and risk taking in the pursuit of profit. This article is more of the same.

      1. Attempting to sideline questions of corporate criminality and recklessness by framing those individuals who raise such questions as somehow akin to conspiracy theorist is soooo played out.  yawn.

  10. When corporations use their lawyers to write legislation to escape product liablity and deceive the public about the nature of their product, that is more than sufficient reason not to buy their product.
    When corporations use their lawyers to change patent and intellectual property law to make sharing seeds a criminal offense, then I do not buy their product.
    The food safety debate is a distraction to the legal minefield created by biotech for farmers and consumers.  

    Revoke all patents on living organisms containing DNA or RNA and then see how well monsanto, dow chemical, syngeta and dupont compete in the marketplace without their precious monopoly.

  11. What’s so frustrating about this kind of debate is that every word of it, from either side, however well-meant, just exacerbates the problem.

    The single, specific purpose of science is to get at knowledge that we can’t get at just by talking to each other.  We’re built to form beliefs based on who says something and how they say it, and sometimes that works; but it’s a flawed approach, especially with regard to the unknown, and science is supposed to be the antidote to thinking that way.  Once we know the science in a story is bad, giving it further mindshare doesn’t correct the problem, it just introduces more bias one way or another.

    If you look at the story from a scientific viewpoint, it doesn’t show that GM crops are harmful, or that they’re not harmful; it doesn’t say anything at all because the science is flawed.  It’s like a corrupted jpeg or a blank page; it contains no info.  Scientifically speaking, all you can say is that if someone has time to read 50 science stories in a year, well, now they only have time to read 49.

  12. Here are the problems I have with media manipulation surrounding this story.

    1) repetition of GMO shill opinions without disclosing the lifelong “trufan” status of those sources.  Martina Newell-McGloughlin, who has a long history of actively lobbying national and international organizations to prevent any labeling or restriction of GMOs, is hardly an unbiased source of criticism for anti-GMO research findings.  Her affiliations, including the millions of dollars of funding she receives at UC Davis directly from Monsanto (as revealed by the Sacramento Bee as early as 2004, in their expose of UC Davis’s many incestuous links to biotech giants) should be disclosed whenever linking to and repeating her “bad science” claims.

    2) Failure to address claims that the French study replicated Monsanto’s own tests, merely extending them from 90 days to 2 years.  If such claims are true, that seems like a completely scientifically valid reason to use the same test regimen, and accusations of “bad science” are (at the very least) disingenuous.  It’s difficult to prove a study is flawed if you insist that the study must never be accurately recreated; it’s difficult to prove a study was too short if you insist it can’t be run longer under the same conditions.

    3) Failing to link the issue with the French government’s ongoing fight with Monsanto over the legality of GMO maize seems a pretty big omission, too.  The Roundup Rat Study is clearly related to French and EU politics at least in effect, if not in purpose.  Was this mentioned in any of BB’s coverage?  Did I miss it?

    4) Failure to mention links between increasing human exposure to Roundup and increasing incidence of infertility and food-related illnesses.  These links are unproven (in humans) but the correlations are troubling and should be part of any discussion of research, glyphosates, and Monsanto.  There has never been any epidemiological study of roundup-ready food effects on the general population and the GMO industry’s ongoing campaign to prevent labeling and the reality of widespread crossbreeding in the wild makes such studies impossible.  People should know there are unanswered questions, and that industry and government have worked together to make sure they can stay unanswered.

    5) Failure to mention the many proven cases of Monsanto lying about their products in general and Roundup in particular.  They have been convicted at least three times for falsely claiming Roundup is biodegradable, and they have been legally forced to withdraw advertising materials claiming Roundup is “practically nontoxic” and “safer than table salt”, and at least two Monstanto-funded research labs have been caught red-handed falsifying data that would be submitted to the US government to prove the safety of Roundup and glyophosate.

    I’m really not offended by French scientists imposing temporary restrictions on the press.  I am much more concerned by the press regurgitating corporate spin to the public as if it were unbiased coverage.

    And although no amount of bad journalism will change whether roundup-ready crops and/or roundup are safe for human use, I would like to have more solid information about the relationship between Monsanto’s 90 day tests and these new 2 year tests.  If the regimen was indeed the same, then clearly any attempts to label this study “bad science” are just the same “merchants of doubt” type propaganda that we’ve seen the tobacco and oil companies use so well.

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