According to Reuters, an initial review by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has found that a French study linking a type of genetically modified corn to health risks in rats was of insufficient scientific quality to draw any conclusions on the safety of such crops. In October, researchers at the University of Caen said rats fed on Monsanto’s NK603 GM corn or exposed to its top-selling Roundup glyphosate weed killer were at higher risk of suffering tumors, multiple organ damage, and premature death.
“Considering that the study... has unclear study objectives and given its inadequate design, analysis and reporting, EFSA finds that it is of insufficient scientific quality for safety assessments,” the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in a statement on Nov. 29.
Among other criticisms, the panel of EFSA scientists that reviewed the paper said the authors had failed to establish appropriate control groups as part of the study, and had chosen a strain of rat that is prone to developing tumors during its normal lifespan. “Therefore, EFSA concludes that the study as reported does not impact the ongoing re-evaluation of glyphosate and does not see a need to reopen the existing safety evaluation of maize NK603,” the panel concluded.
The EFSA said it would ask the authors to provide full details of the study’s design and procedures, ahead of a final review due by the end of November. But the study’s lead author, Gilles-Eric Seralini, said he would only make further information publicly available if EFSA published all the data from its 2003 safety assessment of NK603, which concluded that it was as safe as non-GM corn.