The Austrian government calls on the European Commission to review its approval process for genetically modified (GM) food after a controversial French study linked a kind of GM corn to higher health risks in rats. In a study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, researchers led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen have found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize or given water containing Roundup (both made by Monsanto), at levels permitted in drinking water and GM crops in the US, developed cancers faster and died earlier than rats fed on a standard diet.
The animals on the genetically modified (GM) diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage, according to the peer-reviewed study which was presented at a news conference in London. Gilles-Eric Seralini announced that 50 percent of male rats and 70 percent of female rats fed Monsanto’s corn and weedkiller died prematurely, compared to only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group,
Monsanto spokesman Thomas Helscher said the company would review the study thoroughly. However, he added: “Numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies performed on biotech crops to date, including more than a hundred feeding studies, have continuously confirmed their safety, as reflected in the respective safety assessments by regulatory authorities around the world.”
In France, where opposition to GMOs has led to a ban on growing such crops, the government said it had asked its health and safety agency to assess the study and had also sent it to the European Union’s food safety agency (EFSA).