Last week I had the privilege of attending a lecture, both brilliant and courageous, given by Gilles-Eric Séralini, Professor of Molecular Biology Research at the Institute of Biology and Fundamental Application (IBFA) at the University of Caen, whose work has recently shook the International scientific community as well as the European health authorities.
In fact, the study that was recently published “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize”, concluded that Roundup (#1 herbicide in the world, produced by Monsanto Company), and corn genetically modified to resist Roundup, cause hormonal dysfunction and chronic diseases of the sex organs. According to his study in mice, female mortality was increased 2-3 times, mainly due to mammary tumors and disorders of pituitary function. Males developed liver congestion and necrotic renal disease with palpable tumors. A probable explanation for the difference of effects between males and females was due to the fact that Roundup induced endocrine disruption and a new metabolism-related transgene. His study therefore calls for measuring the long-term toxic effects of GMOs and pesticides, instead of being too hasty to authorize its use based on unclassified information.
Obviously this directly contradicts the interests of consortia agro-petro-chemio-food, which in the world, have a powerful lobbying effect within their agency permissions.
Upon publication of the article, the criticisms against Séralini have fused. Negative criticisms came from approximately 40 scientists or groups, (most of which are not specialists in the areas of pesticide toxicology or GMO risk assessment and do not publish papers on these topics), including agencies responsible for GMO or pesticide authorizations. Most were subsequently revealed to have conflicts of interest, either directly with Monsanto Company, with other commercial interests, or with bodies that had previously authorized the commercialization of these or similar products.
What struck me is the similarity of the arguments used against Mirko Beljanski yesterday and against Séralini today. In both cases, official authorities were fast to come up with some botched studies to oppose improbable results, to either Beljanski or Séralini. For Mirko Beljanski it was a 1994 study of the ANRS, produced in a few days without observing the double-blind study, and making references to the analysis of a viscous product, which was opposite to the lack of the effective anti-viral, Pao pereira.
While Gilles-Eric Séralini was appointed the Knight of the Order Of Merit in 2008, proposed by the Ministry of Ecology for his lifelong career in biology, he now sees his professional skills suddenly being called into doubt, and publicly addressed as a disgrace in the scientific community. It was, sadly, the same case for Mirko Beljanski (see the infamous letters of the commission president of CNRS sent to Mirko and Monique Beljanski, published in the Appendix of the book “Chronicles of a Scientific Fatwa”. (ed.G.Trédaniel, Paris).
At the same time Séralini exposes the dangers of GMOs, a Continuing Resolution (CR) for the big Appropriations funding bill is to be debated on the Senate floor in Washington. It’s supposed to be about funding the government, but it includes a dangerous GMO rider that has no place in a funding bill that could strip federal courts of the authority to halt the sale and planting of illegal, potentially hazardous genetically engineered crops while the USDA is performing an environmental impact statement.
If this provision becomes law, it will be a huge blow to the justice system, completely overriding judicial safeguards that protect both farmers and the public, and rendering judges’ rulings irrelevant.
I hope Séralini will have the strength to make his voice heard, loud enough and long enough, for it to impose on those who only hear the noise made by money.