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European Agency's Final Verdict on Controversial GM Study: Not Scientifically Sound

Corn fed. Controversial study had suggested GM maize fed to rats caused tumors.

Janet Stephens/Wikimedia Commons

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) today delivered its final verdict on a controversial study that examined the toxicity of genetically modified (GM) maize. The study "does not meet acceptable scientific standards" and there is therefore no need to reevaluate the safety of GM maize, the group concluded.

The study in question was published on 19 September in Food and Chemical Toxicology by molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Séralini and colleagues. It claimed to find a link between GM maize NK603 and tumors and death in rats. Although the study was panned by scientists, it received an enormous amount of attention from both the French public and press.

At the request of the European Commission, EFSA set up a task force to look into the study; an initial review on 4 October deemed the research "inconclusive." Two French regulatory bodies also came to a similar conclusion in October.

Now, after completing its own assessment as well as taking into account independent assessments from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, EFSA has found the Seralini study wanting. The study is "of insufficient scientific quality for risk assessment" due to "inadequacies in the design, reporting and analysis of the study," the agency says.