GM food: Safety tests on new products up for debate

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/monsanto-genetically-modified-corn-study_n_1897361.html

The point that was made on the news yesterday (also somewhat mentioned in the article): this is claimed to be the first long term test of that food on animals. The main point of dispute (going far beyond this particular study) is the claim that standard studies are of too short duration to permit the detection of tumor development and other long-term effects.
 

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AlephZero
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/monsanto-genetically-modified-corn-study_n_1897361.html

The point that was made on the news yesterday (also somewhat mentioned in the article): this is claimed to be the first long term test of that food on animals. The main point of dispute (going far beyond this particular study) is the claim that standard studies are of too short duration to permit the detection of tumor development and other long-term effects.

I don't think anybody is disputing the duration of the study, but the methodology has certainly been criticised.

But the publication of the work has met a barrage of criticism by other researchers, who have taken issue with the statistical methods employed in the paper.

They also questioned the choice of rat, which they said was well known to develop cancers, particularly if its diet was not well controlled. In addition, the small size of the control group - just 20 animals - made it difficult to draw any conclusions of significance, they argued.

And there was disapproval of the emotive way in which some of the results were presented in the paper, specifically pictures of rats with large tumours.

"The most evocative part of the paper is those pictures of tumorigenesis," said Prof Maurice Moloney from Rothamsted Research, where much UK GM study is undertaken.

"They give the impression that this never happens in controls. I'd be surprised if it didn't, but that ought to be explicitly demonstrated, and if there was a control that ended up showing similar kinds of tumorigenesis then a picture of that rat should be shown as well, just so we can see if there are any qualitative differences between them."
From http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19654825

And this seems a rather strange way to do science, unless you are trying to suppress criticism of your work:
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.
 
  • #3
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I don't think anybody is disputing the duration of the study, but the methodology has certainly been criticised.
Sorry that I wasn't clear. The people who did this study criticize the companies and others who did earlier studies, because those were said to have endied before tumors could develop. The writer of the above article didn't quite catch that point.
From http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19654825
And this seems a rather strange way to do science, unless you are trying to suppress criticism of your work:
Thanks, that one is more to the point. :smile:
I don't know what way by whom you refer to, but the criticism that I bring up here concerns the "usual 90-day trials conducted by industry". Neither of the two articles challenges the allegations that the usual trials are too short to be able to reliably detect the development of tumors.
 
  • #4
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I'm less worried about the safety of GM foods and more worried about the IP issues it raises. Imagine if 99% of most crops are controlled by IP and a handful of companies completely own the distribution, production, and price of our most vital crops for sustenance.
 

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