View from the fence

Social, environmental and economic issues surrounding GM foods, and the latest news


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‘All GM food is safe/unsafe’ is a fallacy

Stories of GM being bad for health rumble on (though Seralini is still winning on this one) and they need some context.

It is impossible to say all GM food is safe to consume or that all GM is dangerous – every variety is different and should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Even if a technique used for the modification proved to be dangerous (and I have no reason to believe it might be), this doesn’t mean that all GM food will be dangerous – ever more sophisticated techniques are being developed. Continue reading


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I smell (a badly treated) rat

Last year I blogged about the retraction of Professor Seralini’s toxicology study on rats claiming negative health effects of eating round-up tolerant GM maize. Well, last week it was re-published, in a lower-ranking journal.

The republication has been met with a fraction of the publicity from first time around (perhaps unsurprising given that it was basically the same paper with slight re-analysis and a more political slant). Continue reading


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What can feeding GM foods to animals tell us about toxicity?

Next Wednesday (15th January) we are all invited to take part in an online Q&A on ‘How useful are animal feeding studies in plant research?’

Since Seralini’s toxicology paper was retracted, there have been lots of calls for more studies where GM food is fed to animals to assess its safety for humans. The Q&A is a chance for people to ask any questions about whether feeding studies are a sensible precaution to determine whether our food is safe, or a misleading waste of money.  Continue reading


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Retraction of Seralini’s controversial toxicology study

This week a widely-criticised paper claiming negative effects of Roundup and Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize on rats was retracted by the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. The author, Professor Seralini, stands by the results, but received a letter from the journal stating that “The panel had many concerns about the quality of the data, and ultimately recommended that the article should be withdrawn.”

Criticisms included inadequate numbers of rats to draw conclusions (especially as the strain used were extremely prone to tumours). There were also insufficient control groups (there should have been more rats fed on non-GM diets to see whether this was any different to those fed GM diets). The stats have also been questioned. Continue reading