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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Journal editor defends retraction of GMO-rats study while authors reveal some of paper’s history

with 44 comments

food and chemical toxicologyThe debate over the retraction of a highly controversial paper on the effects of GMOs on rats continues unabated. This week, Adriane Fugh-Berman and Thomas Sherman wrote on the Hastings Center website that

the process by which his paper was retracted reeks of industry pressure.

But in an editorial published online last week that was announced in December, Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) editor-in-chief A. Wallace Hayes defends the retraction, and responds to criticisms of how the paper was handled. We’ll walk through Hayes’s piece, and let you know what we’ve learned from the authors of the now-retracted study.

First, Hayes addresses one concern many raised, namely that a former Monsanto employee, Richard Goodman, now at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, was appointed as associate editor of the journal at the GMO manufacturer’s behest:

Contrary to what has been suggested by some, the appointment of Professor Richard Goodman, University of Nebraska, as an Associate Editor was not influenced by Monsanto or any other party. Members of the editorial board are chosen based on their expertise as toxicologists/ scientists. It is the goal of this journal to have a variety of different viewpoints. In this case, as in other cases, I as Editor-in-Chief listened to as wide and diverse a set of expertise as possible. To wit, Professor Goodman, along with other members of the editorial board was involved in initial discussions of the Séralini paper and the request to view raw data. When the request was made to Dr. Séralini to review the raw data, the journal suggested to Dr. Séralini that all parties involved sign a confidentiality agreement. This confidentiality agreement was designed to protect Dr. Séralini and his data so that it was (A) not viewed by anyone he did not want to view his data and (B) that it would not go beyond the people he agreed would review the raw data. Not initially, but during the process, Dr. Séralini made a direct request that Professor Goodman be excluded, and we at FCT readily and quickly agreed. It is understandable that Dr. Goodman’s involvement, however small, might be cause for concern for some. However, the decision to retract the paper was mine alone, made by me exclusively and not by a vote of the editorial board. Further, when Dr. Séralini asked for Dr. Goodman’s involvement to stop, I agreed, fully and promptly.

A side note about this paper and confidentiality: When the study was first published, Seralini told reporters they would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement if they wanted to see the whole paper, meaning they couldn’t seek outside comment until the embargo lifted. That bugged us, because it seemed like an attempt to turn reporters into stenographers, and garner uncritical coverage.

Nicolas Defarge, one of Seralini’s co-authors, now tells us that

Like for any paper, we asked that it remains confidential up to its publication. We were suspicious, because we knew that Monsanto was pressuring on this topic: We had experienced high pressure before the publication of two former papers (about the re-analysis of a 90-day rat feeding studies by Monsanto.

Defarge then points to Goodman’s appointment as associate editor as “proof of this pressure,” but even if that’s the case, it doesn’t explain the highly unusual confidentiality agreement since that appointment happened afterward. So we’re still disturbed by the lack of transparency Seralini and his colleagues demonstrated when seeking publicity.

But we digress. Back to how the retraction was handled by the journal: While the journal did publish a letter from Monsanto about the study, Hayes wrote,

neither the company nor any of their scientists put any pressure on the Editor-in-Chief regarding this matter.

Hayes discusses the question that many — including us — have raised: Does this retraction follow the Committee on Publication Ethics retraction guidelines? He writes:

The COPE guidelines were consulted when making this decision. According to the COPE guidelines, “Journal editors should consider retracting a publication if … they have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g. data fabrication) or honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error).” (COPE, 2009). The retraction statement could have been clearer, and should have referred to the relevant COPE guidelines. The data are inconclusive, therefore the claim (i.e., conclusion) that Roundup Ready maize NK603 and/or the Roundup herbicide have a link to cancer is unreliable. Dr. Séralini deserves the benefit of the doubt that this unreliable conclusion was reached in honest error. The review of the data made it clear that there was no misconduct. However, to be very clear, it is the entire paper, with the claim that there is a definitive link between GMO and cancer that is being retracted. Dr. Séralini has been very vocal that he believes his conclusions are correct. In our analysis, his conclusions cannot be claimed from the data presented in this article.

If we may: Referring to the COPE guidelines only points out that this retraction doesn’t actually seem to conform to them. The verbal dance Hayes does around that fact is a noble effort, but we don’t see the basis in those guidelines. The unreliability has to be due to either misconduct — which Hayes takes pains to say was absent — or honest error. Data being “inconclusive” is not evidence of honest error such as miscalculation or experimental error.

About the only error that Hayes can really point to, if you follow the logic, is the error that he made in accepting the paper. But he had some help. Co-author Defarge tells Retraction Watch that the peer reviewers recommended that the paper be “accepted with minor revisions” — which it was.

And even before being peer-reviewed, the FCT was “the most responsive” of all the journals the authors sent their abstract for consideration, Defarge said. Those other journals? Nature, Science, PNAS, The Lancet, and PLOS ONE.

Now, we’re all for editors doing what they think is best for a given paper. If Hayes had come out and said, “look, we made a mistake accepting this one, it’s just an awful study, we have to retract it,” that would have been unusual, too, and have prompted vigorous debate. But claiming COPE guidelines somehow support the decision doesn’t seem valid.

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44 Responses

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  1. Thanks for this intelligent coverage of the retraction. Just to clarify one point, the pressure from Monsanto that Nicolas Defarge refers to is not restricted to the Goodman appointment but encompasses repeated pressure that Defarge says was brought to bear on journals intending to publish two former papers authored by the Seralini/Defarge team. Defarge says that pressure was previously brought to bear by Monsanto or its allies on journals intending to publish their papers; hence the Seralini team put their embargo in place on the paper that forms the topic of this article; and then their worries about Monsanto pressure were confirmed when Goodman was appointed and their recent paper retracted.

    monkeyface

    January 16, 2014 at 10:29 am

  2. @ monkeyface,

    I am not sure to what extent the appointment of Goodman as an associate editor proves any pressure by Monsanto or else. If you believe the Editor in chief then this is purely coincidential. And also (still if you believe the Editor in chief) he was excluded for the retraction decision upon request by the authors (do they confirm?). Now this is fishy, but I don’t see that as proof.
    Also the authors usually say that all criticism regarding the validity of their findings is instrumentalized by Monsanto, but I doubt all the agencies that reviewed and commented on that paper are sold to Monsanto’s interest.
    Again, as nicely explained here, the retraction doesn’t make much sense. The paper should either have not been accepted to begin with, or kept in the journal. I would really be curious to read the reviewer’s comments and ID about this one. Also I am curious on what was the reply of thi big IF journals the authors have tried first.

    JC

    January 16, 2014 at 10:54 am

    • >t I doubt all the agencies that reviewed and commented on that paper are sold to Monsanto’s interest.

      The study was a stab in the heart for the entire GMO industry. As I understand it, if the USA’s FDA determines that something is carcinogenic, all sorts of regulatory badness descends on that something. The retraction of the paper makes it that much harder to establish that any GMO on the market has carcinogenic effects, and it was in the best interests of everyone to make sure it went away.

      No conspiracy needed, just normal herd survival instinct.

      Lawson ENglish

      January 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    • JC, in fact Goodman said he was offered the post of editor for biotech papers after he’d criticised the Seralini study to the editor of FCT. To me, that reeks of trying to placate an industry-affiliated critic by giving him a position of power at the journal. I don’t think anyone thought that Monsanto actually called the journal and told them to put Goodman in place. Seemingly the process was quite different, with a kind of bullying going on that the journal thought would be mollified by putting the industry-affiliated critic in place. Goodman is affiliated with the Monsanto/industry-sponsored lobby group ILSI and is a former Monsanto employee. The journal can have been under no illusions as to the kind of influence they were bringing in, in putting him in charge of GMO papers.

      After Goodman was appointed, another study was force-retracted from FCT, which also raised questions about GMO safety–this time about Bt toxins. Fortunately the study was immediately published by another journal.

      monkeyface

      January 16, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    • The agencies that dismissed the Seralini study (eg EFSA) had previously been responsible for authorising this or other GMOs as safe, after short 90-day feeding studies that were the same design as Seralini’s but too short to see any serious damage (in Seralini’s study the first tumours showed up at 4 months). So, the agencies were simply defending their own position.

      In Europe many pointed out this extreme conflict of interest on the part of EFSA. It’s a type of conflict of interest that EFSA is aware of, since it rightly refuses to invite scientists who have intellectual conflicts of interest onto its expert panels. e.g. a scientist who has previously evaluated a product for his or her own national government cannot then evaluate the same product for EFSA, since the temptation to defend his own previous position constitutes a conflict of interest. But apparently EFSA ignored this fact in judging the Seralini study, because if it had admitted that the study had any validity, it would have exposed as flawed its own previous decisions that:
      1) NK603 maize is safe
      2) Feeding studies longer than 90-days are not needed for GMOs.

      What choice did EFSA have but to say Seralini’s study was rubbish?

      This also goes for the other agencies that damned the study. Interestingly however some members of the Belgian expert panel requested to evaluate the study endorsed the study and published a minority report on it. Same thing happened with CTNBio, Brazil’s regulatory body.

      Interestingly the only way EFSA and other critical agencies managed to dismiss the Seralini study was by pretending it was a failed carcinogenicity study (it wasn’t, it was a chronic tox study with a perfectly mainstream design, which unexpectedly happened to find tumours and mortality).

      monkeyface

      January 16, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      • EFSA wasn’t alone in its criticism. Six individual Member States largely came with the same criticism, as well as several other scientific organizations. Moreover, the carcinogenicity was highlighted in the conclusions of the Seralini paper and its further ‘marketing’, and it should therefore be no surprise that this also gets major attention from those who evaluated the claims. The conclusion of all the evaluators has been unanimous: the conclusions about the carcinogenicity simply do not fit the data and the study design.

        In terms of chronic toxicity the design was also not “perfectly mainstream”. No one should do a 2-year toxicity study on a rat strain with a lifespan of about 2 years with a mere 10 rats per group, unless you have a good idea that your compound is pretty toxic, which in turn means you can already see changes in much shorter time-spans. You will have very little statistical power, because statistical fluctuations will mean that you can easily have a group with 7 rats dying within those 2 years, and another group where 3 die, even if they are on the same “treatment. This also means you can expect similar variation in other parameters. Where’s the power calculation in Seralini et al?

        Marco

        January 17, 2014 at 3:24 am

        • The carcinogenicity aspect was all that study (it shouldn’t have been called a study) was meant to report on. The toxicity study was/is to be published in a separate journal at a separate date, or so the retracted study says.

          Seralini goofed big time all over the place in how he handled things. He sacrificed greater scientific credibility for the sake of short-term sensationalism. had he followed “best practices” for reporting unexpected tumors in a toxicology study, it would have been much harder to attack, and almost certainly not vulnerable to retraction.

          Instead, he went for the throat and got burned.

          Lawson ENglish

          January 17, 2014 at 6:41 pm

        • When you say “six member states came to the same criticism”, you are referrring to government bodies that had previously approved this or other GMOs, or glyphosate herbicide, as safe, so they have the same conflict of interest as EFSA! They had to condemn the study or effectively condemn their own previous actions.
          Interestingly, EFSA did not ask the more GMO-critical member states to comment on the Seralini paper. And ANSES and HCB of France (which have both been responsible for authorising GMOs nationally and so had the same conflict of interest) said the paper showed long term tests on GMOs are necessary. And the Belgian opinion contained a Minority Opinion which supported the validity of the Seralini study. Same thing happened in CTNBio, Brazil’s regulatory body.
          You are incorrect on three aspects regarding what you say about chronic tox.
          1: Numbers. OECD chronic tox protocol requires that only 10 rats per sex per group are analysed for blood and urine chemistry, the same number as Seralini tested. Yes, OECD requires the use of 20 animals per sex per group in total, but then requires analysis of only 50% of them. This introduces selection bias, a problem Seralini’s study did not have because he analysed all the animals.
          2: Power calcs. Monsanto also does not do power calculations in its GMO studies, so I guess you would like to see those retracted too? And industry does not do these either in its chronic tox tests for chemicals authorisations.
          3: Lifespan of rat: the average lifespan for Sprague Dawley rat is 3 years, not 2. And Seralini had good survival rates in the control group, well above the level required by any OECD protocol.

          monkeyface

          January 23, 2014 at 12:59 pm

        • The paper does not mention “carcinogenicity” or “cancer”. There were no “conclusions about carcinogenicity” in the paper. Can you justify your claims with evidence from the paper?

          monkeyface

          January 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm

          • If scientists who’ve received funding from industry are “pro” GMO their whole careers, what about Seralini, who has funding from Greenpeace, works with organic farming companies (Lea Nature, Malongo, Biocoop) and the firm Carrefour and Auchan?

            kargse

            February 24, 2014 at 10:08 am

  3. Not surprising it was rejected from the other glamor-mags, but the rejection from PLoS is quite telling. According to editorial policy, PLoS considers mainly the scientific content (the soundness of the data), not so much the interpretation thereof. The editor of FCT seems to be describing over-interpretation of the data to draw an unwarranted conclusion, and this alone would not be grounds to dismiss from a PLoS journal (provided the authors would be willing to tone down their assertions). So there are 2 possibilities: (i) the data are not actually sound, or (ii) the data are sound, perhaps do not support the conclusions, but the authors were not willing to budge on this issue. Given the other discourse mentioned above, I would lean toward the second possibility.

    Paul Brookes

    January 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

    • Seralini definitely shot himself in the foot by insisting that there was some valid conclusion beyond “more research needed.” It might not have made as big a splash in the mainstream media, but it still would have forced a public response.

      Lawson ENglish

      January 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      • The chronic toxicity results are statistically significant and extremely serious. Even the FCT editor didn’t challenge them and neither did any other critic of the study. So the central aspect of the study is rock-solid and uncontestable.

        monkeyface

        January 16, 2014 at 7:04 pm

        • I don’t believe he published all the toxicity results in that study. He said the rest of the data was for a different study.

          Properly done, he should have published ALL the toxicity results first and published a separate evaluation of the cancerous rats.

          Lawson ENglish

          January 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    • Paul Brookes–no Defarge didn’t say it was rejected from PLoS–only that FCT was most responsive. I haven’t heard that it was rejected by any journal, have you?

      monkeyface

      January 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    • It was my impression that he submitted the abstract to PLoS, not the whole study. This is common for high profile papers – to undergo a presubmission inquiry. PLoS ONE does not require or recommend submitting presubmission inquiries because this journal does not care about the “impact” of a study.

      The text above notes that the best response was received by FCT… this doesn’t mean that PLoS did not give a positive response about their willingness to peer review the article, but they may not have promised rapid publication, or they may not have expressed strong enthusiasm, or something else.

      Noah

      January 20, 2014 at 8:12 am

  4. Insisting on non-disclosure agreements and exclusion of certain editors before showing data to the journal is a good indication that the authors were well aware all along that their conclusions were overdrawn.

    Ed

    January 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    • Given the fraught history of publications that are critical of GMOs, insisting on a non-disclosure agreement is the only course that makes sense. Don’t forget, both Pusztai’s study on GM potatoes and Chapela’s study on GM contamination of Mexican maize were subject to campaigns to try to get the editor NOT to publish the study before it was published; then, when the editors went ahead and published, the papers were subjected to exactly the same attacks as have been leveled at this Seralini study. The difference in the case of Pusztai and Chapela was that in those cases the editor didn’t cave in to the pressure.

      Interestingly subsequent studies have backed both Pusztai’s (though with different GMOs) and Chapela’s findings, so it is very much to the editors’ credit that they did not cave in and retract the studies.

      monkeyface

      January 23, 2014 at 1:18 pm

  5. It’s clear-cut. This was not consistent with COPE guidelines. Hayes doesn’t provide evidence even of “miscalculation or experimental error”.

    The data on which the paper is based should be open to full public review, and the same should be true across the board, including industry studies.

    uarktransparency

    January 16, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    • Let’s be logical, fair and balanced. Authors have rights, too. In cases like this, I think ALL documents should be on the table. How about open exposure of the peer reviewers’ reports? Without these reports, at least one extremely important angle is being obstructed. This should be a standard norm for all retractions and investigations of misconduct or fraud. Why does COPE not have any policy on this aspect, which would suggest a defense in favour of publishers and almost never of authors? All parties should be held accountable, including COPE, if it being used as a defense.

      JATdS

      January 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      • The peer reviewers only suggested minor changes, according to Defarge, so there isn’t likely to be anything revelatory there. The journal owns the peer reviewers’ reports.

        monkeyface

        January 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    • The FCT editor did review all Seralini’s raw data and found nothing wrong with it. Seralini has said he will release all his raw data when Monsanto releases all theirs, not only on NK603 maize but also glyphosate. But he still has future publications to consider, based on this raw data, so cannot just publish everything right now.

      Believe it or not, Monsanto’s glyphosate chronic tox/carcinogenicity/reprotox studies are kept secret and we are not allowed to see them. It’s a case of “trust us, glyphosate is safe”. For a really scary experience, try reading Germany’s report on the industry studies, which is in the public domain. Birth defects and tumours in glyphosate-treated rats are wished away for very questionable reasons. So that raw data would really be interesting, plus, unlike Seralini’s study, these Monsanto studies are used as a basis to release a toxic product into the environment and our bodies.

      monkeyface

      January 16, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      • “Seralini has said he will release all his raw data when Monsanto releases all theirs”
        Sorry, what? And you put stock in Seralini after a statement like that? If he has something significant to prove, why doesn’t he go ahead and prove it instead of playing this little game. If he has data that truly shows significant toxicity, he’s endangering public health by NOT releasing it. Its a bluff plus a publicity stunt and a transparent one at that.

        Erik

        January 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm

        • Ugly double standard, Erik: what if Monsanto & Hammond have impt. findings which are unpublished/unreleased? Do you think money has ever prevented the release of economically damaging findings?

          ttweed

          January 20, 2014 at 9:20 am

        • Seralini has given his raw data to a notary to be released once the glyphosate data is released by Monsanto. This is kept secret and no government authority will release it (requests have been made to several). The NK603 data from Monsanto has already been released by EFSA.
          Perhaps you are not aware that Hayes, editor of FCT, and his secret review panel have already been given all Seralini’s raw data and examined it. They could find nothing wrong with it, as Hayes has stated, which is amazing after looking very hard for over a year.
          It is not Seralini but Monsanto that is endangering public health with its secret data.

          monkeyface

          January 23, 2014 at 1:23 pm

  6. One does not need to “bow to industry pressure” to have an industry-oriented outlook. Hayes is a signatory to the pro-chemical-indstury Letter to the Editor which denounces teh EFSA’s stance on how to deal with endocrine-disrupting compounds, as detailed in this article in Nature: http://www.nature.com/news/journal-editors-trade-blows-over-toxicology-1.13787

    This is about as pro-industry a stance as you can take, so no need to imply he’s bowing to industry pressure. He’s already pro-industry in his attitude towards things.

    Lawson ENglish

    January 16, 2014 at 3:19 pm

  7. Questions of industry influence are not central here. @JATdS and @uarktransparency have hit the nail on the head: data must be in the public domain, be they from industry or non-commercial research institutions. this is as true for clinical trials as it it for toxicology or physics. As soon as information is hidden we are left second guessing and the rise in “business” on retraction Watch is one indicator of the problem due to hiding data.
    Without the data we know nothing beyond the personal interpretation of the authors.

    ferniglab

    January 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    • That is the bottom line of science, but there’s at least one corollary: scientists with a significant financial interest do not have an objective enough approach to their work. As BMJ’s former editor R Smith put it, “no one can say what the manifold effects of money on thinking are” (paraphrase). Indy academics do not have this bias;burden.

      ttweed

      January 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

  8. Hammond et al, is more flawed than Seralini. Hammond should be retracted as well if FCT wants to retain credibility. http://beachvethospital.blogspot.com/2014/01/dear-food-and-chemical-toxicology.html

    Dr. Ena

    January 16, 2014 at 7:05 pm

  9. The authors have the opportunity of appealing to COPE if they believe their paper has been retracted in breach of the COPE guidelines and cannot get satisfaction from either the journal or the publisher. In theory, COPE can reprimand the publisher and demand that the paper be de-retracted. In practice, … Well how many times has this happened to a major publisher?

    richard telford

    January 17, 2014 at 10:38 am

    • Bravo, Richard, for stating in black on white what a zillion scientists are failing to see (or not wanting to see).

      JATdS

      January 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm

  10. “According to the COPE guidelines, “Journal editors should consider retracting a publication if … they have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g. data fabrication) or honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error).” (COPE, 2009). …. The data are inconclusive, therefore the claim (i.e., conclusion) that Roundup Ready maize NK603 and/or the Roundup herbicide have a link to cancer is unreliable. ”
    The paper doesn’t make a claim that Roundup Ready maize NK603 and/or the Roundup herbicide has a link to cancer. They claim they saw more tumors, larger and earlier in their treated animals and hypothesize a link to the treatments..

    There is no miscalculation or experimental error of the form envisaged by COPE.

    littlegreyrabbit

    January 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm

  11. EFSA and FDA’s assessments are highly credible. Considering the huge public pressure on them to ignore the science, that they do is very commendable.

    “Believe it or not, Monsanto’s glyphosate chronic tox/carcinogenicity/reprotox studies are kept secret and we are not allowed to see them” – This is simply not true. EPA has posted on its website the 291 page registration document for glyphosate and it includes a detailed discussion of the findings of multiple carcinogenicity studies of glyphosate.

    Being toxicologist who both teaches at a University and works in industry, the ready acceptance of the new McCarthyism is interesting. Rather than debate the science, anti-GMO groups use personal affliations to determine whether someone should be believed as opposed to a review of the science. (A person with any connection with Monsanto must be dishonest). Conspiracy theory, like the above, is also big.

    If you search the anti-GMO groups, you’ll find a common practice relevant to this blog: they write articles citing very credible sources, but the sources actually conclude the opposite of that that is written. In concluding that GMO foods present a serious toxicologic risk, AAEM cites a published Soc of Toxicology white paper. However, SOT concluded the opposite: that risks from GMO derived foods are no different from that with conventional breeding. Other groups cite and misrepresent NAS, WHO and others. Just search on “should we label GMO foods” or AAEM GMO and read the ACTUAL references that are cited.

    Another anti-GMO group’s paper claims that pesticide use by farmers didn’t begin until after 1945 and that 100 yrs ago food was local and organic. These even a simple search will show these are complete fabrications – widescale pesticide use began in the 1850s and interstate commerce in food was common before 1900. The author is just making it up as he writes – but his websites are the top hits using a search engine.

    DTX

    January 17, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    • @DTX. I find your response interesting on several fronts, but could you reply to my specific criticisms of Monsanto’s science?

      Ena Valikov

      January 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    • Re: pesticide use in the 1800s: there may have been some small use, but the vast majority of farms then — and for the thousands of years prior — were indeed what we now call “organic.” It seems that you’re guilty of what you so casually criticize others for.

      LFP2012

      January 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      • Ena – It looks like you’ve done an in-depth review. To give you feedback, I’ll need to invest time in both yours & the Hammond studies.

        LFP – Have a look at the literature. Bucket pump sprayers for pesticides (1860). Arsenical insecticides aren’t “silly” or “organic” (arsenical use began in 1860s and within a decade, their use became widespread) Is phenol a “safe” insectide (1870)? Carbon disulfide (1854)? Hydrogen cyanide (1886)? Mercuric chloride (1891)? “Sulfur has been a widely used fummigant since the early 1800s…” (Costa, 2008). DDT’s introduction in the 1940s was a huge advancement in safety as it replaced lead arsenate as the top used insecticide (Whorton, 1971). Modern pesticides are far safer than those of old. (all of the above regards pesticidal, not medicinal use of the compounds mentioned).

        (for those wanting more, one suggestion: Whorton, J., Bull Hist Med 45: 219-241, 1971. “Insecticide Spray Residues and Public Health 1865-1938.” I realize LFP might say this publication is “silly” or doesn’t exist. It exists. It’s an excellent article, as are many others discussing pesticide use during the time when they supposedly weren’t. Or you can read the more readily available USDA’s “100 yrs of insect control 1854-1954″ – most of which relates to pesticides, but it won’t give you a full understanding of their widespread use or the lack of controls) The US gov’t started testing vegetables for residues in 1848.

        And the above is just US history. The Chinese were using arenic sulfide by 900 AD to control insects (Costa, 2008) and sulfur 100s of years before this.

        DTX

        January 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm

        • @dtx I understand. Do publish your feedback once you’ve had a chance to review. Thanks!

          Ena Valikov

          January 17, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    • glyphosate data is not the same as Roundup data.

      Lawson ENglish

      January 17, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    • DTX you are incorrect regarding the secrecy of industry studies and raw data on glyphosate. What you are reading is a US government report on the industry data. There is also one by the German government. These documents are in the public domain but they only contain summaries of the studies. No raw data, no study details. Lots of opinions on the part of the government regulator, but that is NOT what will tell us the truth about these substances. There have been several court cases in Europe trying to force disclosure of the industry data on glyphosate–so far these attempts have been unsuccessful.
      As for calling EFSA’s assessment of the Seralini paper credible, you probably haven’t seen the latest Corporate Europe Observatory report, which found that over half of EFSA epxerts have conflicts of interest with industry. The European Parliament has been so concerned about EFSA’s closeness to industry that not long ago they refused to approve EFSA’s budget.

      monkeyface

      January 23, 2014 at 1:32 pm

  12. How many have now read FCT Editor Haye’s (pay-walled) editorial?

    1) He vaguely says Monsanto’s Goodman was “involved in initial discussions of the Se’ralini paper”
    Sounds like FCT was accommodating Monsanto’s response to the paper from the moment it was published?

    2) He doggedly avoids stating he/FCT failed to comply with COPE retraction guidelines. In penultimate para, he hypocritically says the recommended # of animals not being met for cancer was one reason…while acknowledging numbers were sufficient for non-cancer endpoints…which were also retracted

    ttweed

    January 22, 2014 at 10:10 am

    • a) Goodman is not “Monsanto’s Goodman”. Goodman is a professor in Nebraska, and has been for the last 9+ years.
      b) Goodman was involved in the initial discussions after the many complaints and concerns were received, and the Editorial Board got involved in looking in more detail at the paper. Of course the new Editor for that section of the journal gets involved; this is normal. That he was withdrawn from the discussions on Seralini’s request is evidence the journal took every measure to accomodate Seralini.
      c) he does NOT state that the numbers were sufficient for non-cancer endpoints. He says they MAY have been sufficient for the oral toxicity. Language is important here, and context, too, since Hayes points out that the guideline followed is for 90-days toxicity. So, maybe there’s something to go after, but that’s not what they did in the paper. It is obvious that the data is not useful for 2-year toxicity analysis due to the natural lifespan of the rats being about 2 years.

      Marco

      January 22, 2014 at 11:21 am

      • Goodman is a professor in Nebraska who discloses the following in his research ” Dr. Goodman has received grant support from and had travel/accommodations expenses covered or reimbursed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, BASF Plant Science, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto Co., Pioneer Hi-Bred International, and Syngenta Plant Protection and has received consulting fees/honoraria from Bayer CropScience, the Institute of Food Technologists, CropLife International, the Institute of Life Sciences, Cargill, and PepsiCo.Dr. Tetteh has received grant support from the US Environmental Protection Agency” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3130127/

        No industry influence whatsoever!

        Ena Valikov

        January 22, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      • The study was meant to be approach a “full-life” study of the effects of consuming GMOs and/or GMOs plus Roundup Ready. It certainly should have been larger, but people in the European Union have been arguing that 90-day toxicity studies should also be larger because they are unable to detect smaller-effect toxicological issues.

        Seralini’s study noted unexpected tumors in the 4th month of the study: 3 out of 60 male experimental rats had to be put down due to large tumors.

        In the historical record, examining 1284 male rats of that type used in control groups, only 3 out of 1284 rats ever had tumor-reated deaths by age 26 weeks, This finding by Seralini is highly suggestive, and should automatically have triggered calls for further research. Instead, the scientific community called for its retraction and thereby to official ignore the data.

        Lawson ENglish

        January 22, 2014 at 10:11 pm


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