The editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) uses double standards when it comes to publishing in favour of the industry, Prof. Séralini’s team say. Now the journal’s publisher Elsevier has compelled him to publish a right of reply by the Séralini team.

More than a year after its publication, the editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), Dr A. Wallace Hayes, retracted the long-term toxicity study on two Monsanto products, the NK603 GM maize and its associated herbicide Roundup by Séralini et al. He did so despite the fact that he found neither fraud nor conscious misinterpretation in the study. In a new article published in FCT, following pressure from the journal’s publisher Elsevier, the scientists explain why they do not accept Dr Hayes’ conclusion. They denounce the lack of scientific validity of the reasons given for the reatraction, explain why the Sprague-Dawley rat strain used is appropriate, and describe the statistical results in depth concerning the blood and urine parameters affected, proving that the liver and kidney pathologies and the mammary tumours are solidly based.

The editor-in-chief justified his retraction of the publication by the fact that it is impossible to conclude a link between GMO and cancer – even though the word cancer was never used in the paper. Not all the tumours were cancers but they nevertheless brought death through internal haemorrhages and compressions of vital organs. Dr Hayes also argued that 10 rats per group, of the Sprague-Dawley strain, did not allow the level of statistical strength to conclude about the toxicity of the GMO and Roundup. But FCT published two studies (Hammond & al., 2004; and Zhang & al., 2014) measuring the same number of rats of the same strain, without calling into question the strength of the statistics, let alone their conclusion – that the GMOs tested were safe!

The recent study by Zhang et al, like the study by Séralini et al, measures the potential chronic effects of the consumption of a GMO (transgenic rice producing a modified Bt insecticide). It uses the same strain and measures the same number of rats. The only substantive difference was in the results: Zhang and colleagues concluded that the GMO under test was safe.

Prof. Séralini commented : “We are forced to conclude that the decision to withdraw our paper was based on unscientific double standards applied by the editor. These double standards can only be explained by pressure from the GMO and agrochemical industry to force acceptance of GMOs and Roundup. The most flagrant illustration is the appointment of Richard Goodman, a former Monsanto employee, onto the FCT editorial board, soon after the publication of the NK603 study. Worse, this pro-industry bias also affects regulatory authorities, such as EFSA (European Food Safety Authority),which gives favourable opinions on risky products based on mediocre studies commissioned by the companies wishing to commercialize the products, as well as systematically dismissing the findings of independent scientists which cast doubt on their safety.”

The application of unscientific double standards to data on products that have entered our food supply puts public health at risk and throws into question the quality and independence of scientific editorial processes.

Référence : Séralini, G.-E., Mesnage, R., Defarge, N., Spiroux, J. (2014) Conclusiveness of toxicity data and double standards. Food and Chem. Tox. DOI 10.1016/j.fct.2014.04.018 (article attached).