The editor of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), Dr A. Wallace Hayes, has decided to retract the study by the team of Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini, which found that rats fed a Monsanto genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 and tiny amounts of the Roundup herbicide it is grown with suffered severe toxic effects, including kidney and liver damage and increased rates of tumours and mortality. GMWatch believes FCT’s retraction of Prof Séralini’s paper to be illicit, unscientific, and unethical. It violates the guidelines for retractions in scientific publishing set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), of which FCT is a member.
According to Reuters:
The journal said that while it received many letters expressing concerns about the validity of the findings, the proper use of animals and even allegations of fraud, its own investigation found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.
Séralini Defends His Research
Séralini vehemently defends his research, and according to some sources may end up taking the issue to court.7 Hes certainly no stranger to legal battles. A mere two years ago, he won a libel case against the French Association of Plant Biotechnologies. As reported by GM Watch in January 2011:
Séralini sued for libel following a smear campaign… This was part of a furious response from the GM industry to a number of papers by Seralini and colleagues which demonstrated serious statistical and other shortcomings in the Monsanto research dossiers submitted in support of applications for the approval of three GM varieties.
In a highly irregular process, Hayes now contradicts the outcome of the peer review and editorial process and decides to retract the paper over a year after it was published. His decision is not made on the basis of new data, but on a secret and non-transparent review by unnamed persons, who evidently do not feel able to stand behind their decision publicly or disclose any conflicts of interest they may have.
Hayes’ decision will tarnish the reputation of FCT and will increase public mistrust of science in general and genetically modified foods in particular.
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