It all started at the University of Caan where a team of researchers, led by Professor Giles-Eric Seralini performed a study using rats, investigating the long-term toxic effects of Roundup herbicide and genetically modified corn.
During this study, the rats were fed the corn product, which was genetically modified in order to allow it to survive exposure to even the most hazardous herbicides on the market. To test this claim, the corn was saturated with Roundup weed killer.
What were the results of the study?
The study exposed a very negative side to the use of GMOs. Rats that were fed the product developed significantly sized tumors and died prematurely. Seralini proceeded to study the rats, developing a detailed record of the long-term toxicity results of their exposures to the GMO corn which had been exposed to Roundup. They discovered undeniable evidence of long-term effects on both liver and kidney health. This study was then published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT).
Its release sent ripples of upset and hatred throughout the pro-GMO community, with scientists and journalists lashing back, debating the validity of the findings. These individuals were able to find favor with the mainstream media, painting a negative image of not only the study itself but also about Seralini himself. Hundreds of scientists came to Seralini’s defense, although they were largely ignored.
Report retracted by Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal
As the movement against Seralini continued, a former scientist from Monsanto, Richard E. Goodman, obtained a new position with the FCT Journal. This Biotech editorial position was newly created for him at the time, raising a great deal of questions among Seralini’s supporters. With his influence in the inner operations of the journal, the very journal where the study, “Long Term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant Genetically Modified Maize” had originally been peer reviewed and posted.
Shortly thereafter, in 2013, the editor-in-chief of FCT, Wallace Hayes, removed Seralini’s paper from the journal. This came almost a full year following its original publication. When questioned about the controversial decision Hayes admitted that the study was not inaccurate of fraudulent, but rather inconclusive. At the same time a Brazilian study that revealed that Monsanto’s Bt Corn Insecticide Starter Genes do not disintegrate in mammalian stomachs, but rather survive intact within mammals’ blood cells.
Seralini wasn’t ready to give up, and in 2014 his study was re-published, this time in another journal, Environmental Sciences Europe.
Several international scientists continued to put pressure on the FCT journal, and on February 26th, 2015 Scientists for Global Responsibility released this update:
“Critical changes have this year been made at the journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, from which the Editor-in-Chief A. Wallace Hayes retracted the important paper by the Seralini team. The Editorial Board of the journal now has a new Editor-in-Chief, José L. Domingo, who has published papers showing that safety of GM crops is not an established fact; and the Editorial Board no longer includes Richard Goodman, the ex-Monsanto employee who became Associate Editor for Biotechnology not long before the Seralini paper was retracted.”
Seralini and CRIIGEN fight back
While having their study republished was a step in the right direction, it was not enough to satisfy their need to ensure that the truth was made available. They formed a group called Comité de Recherche et d’Information Indépendantes sur le Génie Génétique, or Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering, or CRIIGEN, and proceeded to fight back.
Seralini and CRIIGEN didn’t just move to defend their study but instead chose an offensive approach with the support of many international scientists. The successfully challenged Marianne Magazine, as well as its feature journalist Jean-Claude Jaillet, for claiming publicly in 2012 that Seralini and his team were guilty of “scientific fraud in which the methodology served to reinforce predetermined results.” With the assistance of public attorneys, they called notaries in France, Bernard Dartevelle and Cindy Gay won their suit against Marianne Magazine.
On November 25th, 2015 a three-year investigation concluded, and the High Court of Paris indicted Marc Fellous, one of the individuals that was originally charged in the original libel case. He also happened to be the chairman of France’s Bio-molecular Engineering Commission who had rubber-stamped a number of genetically modified products for consumption.
Fellous was charged with forgery and the use of forgery. It was found that he had used a scientist’s signature in order to ‘prove’ that Seralini and the company were inaccurate in their study.