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Old 21-10-2005, 11:49 AM
Beach Runner
 
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Default Monsanto data exposed

New GMO report shows EU safety checks are failing
GREENPEACE EUROPEAN UNIT
20 OCTOBER 2005

BRUSSELS An independent analysis of rat feeding trials of a Monsanto
genetically modified (GM) maize has highlighted serious errors in the
study, Greenpeace revealed today [1]. EU agriculture ministers will
vote on the maize - MON863 - for food use next Monday, 24 October in
Luxembourg.

The analysis is a preliminary report by two French scientists of the
90-day rat study using MON863 maize [2]. In it, they strongly
criticise the method that was used in the company's own study to
assess the apparent negative impacts on the health of the group of
rats fed the modified maize, and the way that anomalous findings were
dismissed [3].

"It appears that Monsanto was doing the equivalent of looking at
bacteria through binoculars instead of a microscope," said Eric Gall
of Greenpeace. "What is especially worrying is what this reveals
about the public authorities' capacity to assess GMO test data. Both
the German government and the European Food Safety Authority gave a
green light to this maize based on what turns out to be an extremely
shoddy study. This undermines all the assurances the EU seeks to
provide about the safety of GMOs."

The report's authors regret that the MON863 feeding study was carried
out for just 90 days, compared to the standard two years for
pesticides (MON863 has been gene-altered to produce an insecticidal
toxin and kill pests); and that the rats' blood and urine tests were
analysed using the wrong statistical model for the small test group
concerned. They describe as 'astonishing' the fact that Monsanto
statisticians did not highlight the consistent body-weight
differences between the rats fed MON863 and those fed conventional
maize, or study the anomaly with a comprehensive statistical tool.
They advise, in conclusion, that: "It is essential for Monsanto's
entire statistical analysis to be repeated before any decision about
market access is taken."

"In the light of these findings, it is clear that we need clearer and
stricter rules for the scientific evaluation of GMO applications in
Europe, and a full review of the work of the European Food Safety's
Authority's GMO panel," said Gall. "In the meantime, EU governments
should block any new GMO authorisation."

In late September, it was reported that the French government has
recently sought support from other EU member states to further
restrict public access to documents related to the risk assessment of
GMOs. Greenpeace argues that the case of MON 863 proves that the
opposite is required: full publication of all data to enable
thorough, independent scrutiny of the findings.

In a separate development, Greenpeace called on governments to
support the Greek ban on the cultivation of another GM maize, also on
the agenda of the Agriculture Council on Monday.

CONTACT Eric Gall, EU policy adviser on GMOs, Greenpeace European
Unit, tel +32 (0)496 161 582

Christoph Then, Greenpeace International GMO campaigner, tel. +49 171
878 0832

Katharine Mill, media officer, Greenpeace European Unit, tel +32
(0)2274 1903, +32 (0)496 156 229

NOTES TO EDITOR

1. A copy of the analysis is available at
http://eu.greenpeace.org/downloads/g...3Seralini1.pdf.

2. The full data from the rat feeding trials was only made public in
June 2005 after a German court ruled that Monsanto could not keep it
secret. The new analysis was conducted by Dr Dominique Cellier,
Assistant Professor in statistics applied to Biology, University of
Rouen, and Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, Président du Conseil
Scientifique du CRII GEN, Laboratoire de Biochimie - IBFA, University
of Caen.

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