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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News
 

 
September 19 - France orders probe after rat study links GM corn, cancer

Article: Cloning And Genetic Engineering

France's government on Wednesday asked a health watchdog to carry out a probe, possibly leading to EU suspension of a genetically-modified corn, after a study in rats linked the grain to cancer. Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll, Ecology Minister Delphine Batho and Health and Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine said they had asked the National Agency for Health Safety (ANSES) to investigate the finding.

"Depending on ANSES' opinion, the government will urge the European authorities to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health," they said in a joint statement.

"(The measures) could go as far as invoking emergency suspension of imports of NK603 corn to Europe pending a re-examination of this product on the basis of enhanced assessment methods."

Earlier, French scientists led by Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen in Normandy unveiled a study that said rats fed with NK603 corn or exposed to the weedkiller used with it developed tumours.

NK603 is a corn, also called maize, made by US agribusiness giant Monsanto. It has been engineered to make it resistant to Monsanto's herbicide Roundup. This enables farmers to douse fields with the weedkiller in a single go, thus offering substantial savings.

Genetically modified (GM) crops are widely grown in North America, Brazil and China but are a hot-button issue in Europe.

"For the first time ever, a GM organism and a herbicide have been evaluated for their long-term impact on health, and more thoroughly than by governments or the industry," Seralini told AFP. "The results are alarming."

Premature deaths and sickness were concentrated especially among females. At the 14-month stage of experiment, no animals in the control groups showed any signs of cancer, but among females in the "treated" groups, tumours affected between 10 and 30 percent of the rodents.

 
 

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