A French study linking a genetically modified maize crop to cancer is being questioned by the EFSA.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has cast doubt on a
headline-grabbing French study that linked a genetically modified (GM) maize
crop produced by American crop science company Monsanto to cancer.
In an initial review published Thursday (4 October), EFSA said that the
research was “of insufficient scientific quality,” has “unclear study
objectives” and “inadequate design, analysis and reporting.” EFSA asked the
study's authors for additional evidence by 12 October, for a final review to be
issued in the coming weeks.
The EFSA review follows an assessment published by the German Federal
Instititute for Risk Assessment (BfR) on Monday (1 October) which concluded
that it does not provide grounds for a re-evaluation of the maize in question -
NK603. The crop is engineered to be resistant to the Monsanto-made herbicide
The study caused a stir last week when it suggested that rats which were fed the maize
had a significantly increased rate of cancer and mortality. The French government
called for an emergency suspension of imports of Roundup-resistant maize and
launched an assessment of the study, which is still ongoing.
Anti-GM campaigners such as Friends of the Earth Europe and MEPs such as
French Green José Bove called for the immediate suspension of all new GM
approvals in response to the study. Friends of the Earth Europe accused EFSA of
being biased because of its connections with the biotech industry.
The European Commission said its position on GM crops has not changed as a
result of the study, and it is waiting for EFSA's final assessment.
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