French researchers are sounding the alarm on genetically modified crops. A new, peer-reviewed study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology has found that rats fed a regular diet of Monsanto's genetically modified corn or exposed to Roundup, Monsanto's top-selling weedkiller, were more likely to develop tumors, suffer organ damage and die sooner. Monsanto's corn, called NK603, has been engineered to be resistant to Roundup, Monsanto's weedkiller. This allows farmers to douse fields with the herbicide without worrying about killing corn, but some researchers are worried that the corn isn't safe to eat.
This latest study is the first of its kind because it involved a long-term "animal feeding trial," the Digital Journal reported. The researchers fed GM crops and Roundup to rats for two years. Previously, industry-funded studies have determined that GM crops are safe to eat. But those studies were much shorter-term, consisting only of 90-day feeding trials. This new research, meanwhile, found that most tumors weren't even apparent until 18 months into the trial.
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In a news conference, Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen announced that 50 percent of male rats and 70 percent of female rats fed Monsanto's corn and weedkiller died prematurely, compared to only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group, Reuters reported. However, researchers not involved in the study were critical of the Seralini's methods, and cautioned that it is too early to draw conclusions about the safety of GM crops, Reuters later reported.
In a joint statement, French government officials said that they are asking the National Agency for Health Safety (ANSES) to investigate the latest finding. "Depending on ANSES's opinion, the government will urge the European authorities to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health," they told Agence France-Presse.