Scientific Journal Retracts Anti-GMO Junk Science Study


Killer Tomatoes
Killer Tomatoes

A study last year by the French anti-GMO campaigner who sometimes masquerades as a scientist, Gilles-Eric Séralini, has been retracted by the journal in which it was published. Seralini claimed that rats that he fed a diet of GMO corn developed mammary tumors and liver disease. The study was widely hailed by anti-GMO activists and soundly denounced by actual scientists.

In my article, "The Top 5 Lies About Biotech Crops," I reported:

One widely publicized specious study (also cited by the IRT) was done by the French researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini and his colleagues. They reported that rats fed pesticide resistant corn died of mammary tumors and liver diseases. Seralini is the president of the scientific council of the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, which describes itself as an "independent non-profit organization of scientific counter-expertise to study GMOs, pesticides and impacts of pollutants on health and environment, and to develop non polluting alternatives." The Committee clearly knows in advance what its researchers will find with regard to the health risks of biotech crops. But when truly independent groups, such as the European Society of Toxicologic Pathology and theFrench Society of Toxicologic Pathology, reviewed Seralini's study, they found it essentially to be meretricious rubbish. Six French academies of science issued a statement declaring that the journal should never have published such a low-quality study and excoriating Seralini for orchestrating a media campaign in advance of publication. The European Food Safety Agency's review of the Seralini study "found to be inadequately designed, analysed and reported." Sadly, such junk science has real-world consequences, since Seralini's article was apparently cited when Kenya made the decision to ban the importation of foods made with biotech crops.

The journal Food and Chemical Toxicity has now retracted Seralini's article, noting:

Unequivocally, the Editor-in-Chief found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data. However, there is a legitimate cause for concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group and the particular strain selected. The low number of animals had been identified as a cause for concern during the initial review process, but the peer-review decision ultimately weighed that the work still had merit despite this limitation. A more in-depth look at the raw data revealed that no definitive conclusions can be reached with this small sample size regarding the role of either NK603 or glyphosate in regards to overall mortality or tumor incidence. Given the known high incidence of tumors in the Sprague-Dawley rat, normal variability cannot be excluded as the cause of the higher mortality and incidence observed in the treated groups. 

For his "research" Seralini selected a type of lab rat that is well-known to develop spontaneous tumors. One of the numerous letters to the editor explaining the flaws in the study concluded:

Discussion is important in science, but this publication stirred vigorous criticism by several scientists around the world. It has risen up great attention by the media that had no chance of getting an external expert opinion due to unusual non-disclosure clauses. The initial unbalanced media coverage is causing damage to an important tool for global food security. It is also important to avoid unnecessary distress and pain of the animals (e.g. Directive 2010/63/EU), the experiment should not go beyond the point required to meet the scientific objectives. I urge you to take adequate measures to keep the high standard quality of publications that come to your journal. This paper as it is now, presents poor quality science and dubious ethics.

It's good that the journal has gotten around to retracting the study, but unfortunately it will become just another cause celebre among conspircy minded anti-biotech activists.

NEXT: Anti-Vaxxers Take Note: Vaccines Have Prevented 100 Million Serious Childhood Diseases In U.S. Since 1888

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  1. Considering I had some kid tell me that fraking causes earthquakes so we should ban it in CA because we don’t need any more earthquakes. Activists will cite anything and contort the results in odd ways to make an emotional connection with their audience.

    Even after retracting autism/MMR paper, people still talk about him and how his science was stifled by consensus villains. It’s good this got retracted, but it has likely done its intended damage.

    1. j: “it has likely done its intended damage.”

      All too true.

    2. But wait, the only way it could cause earthquakes is by releasing the pressure already built up on the fault. A lot of smaller quakes triggered by fracking would actually reduce the danger of a severe quake causing massive damage!

      Of course, I doubt we’ve made a working earthquake generator.

      1. Who is this “we” you speak of?

        /Rosicrucians and Templars United

        1. Templars? Now I have to go and find some troubled putz in a goodie to use these wrist blades I have stashed away.

          Note to self – do not get classified as a ‘mentor’ figure to avoid the enevitable fatality of the role.

          1. *hoodie

        2. Don’t be horning in on our action!


        1. The scientists looked at three big quakes: the Tohuku-oki earthquake in Japan in 2011 (magnitude 9), the Maule in Chile in 2011 (an 8.8 magnitude), and the Sumatra in Indonesia in 2012 (an 8.6). They found that, as much as 20 months later, those major quakes triggered smaller ones in places in the Midwestern US where fluids have been pumped underground for energy extraction.

          WOW! That’s is ridiculously stupid. How could you possibly know that a small quake in Oklahoma was caused by a large quake in Japan?

          It’s especially ridiculous because they’re claiming these quakes were caused two years later. How could you possibly know that a quake in Japan caused a smaller quake in Oklahoma if it takes 19-20 months to manifest?

          That has to be one of the biggest bits of pseudoscience I have ever seen.

          1. I could possibly know that a small quake in Oklahoma was caused 2 years later by a big quake in Japan if I were some sort of idiot that wanted to believe such a thing.

            It is kind of like the theory by some that the Sumatran quake that killed a few hundred thousand was caused by US atomic bombs that were set off to cause it.


      2. “But wait, the only way it could cause earthquakes is by releasing the pressure already built up on the fault”

        You’re forgetting about Bush’s Magic Earthquake Machine ™


    3. I deal with this a lot in the nuclear sphere. It is especially bad because barely anyone has been trained on what ionizing radiation is or how it interacts with DNA but everyone has seen the horrific images of nuclear bomb survivors.

      Even though there is not a single credible study showing any negative effects of radiation doses below 100 mSv/year (in fact, the more studies that come out the more it is shown to low dose rad either has no affect or positive affects), anti-nuclear types will claim constantly that any amount of radiation is bad for you.

      1. Yeah, isn’t the evidence leading to a hormetic effect for low dose radiation?

        1. Yeah, that’s where it appears to be heading. Which is the same for a lot of things at low doses. Exercising your bodies defense systems – to a point – seems to actually be beneficial.

          1. Can’t be so. It violates Francisco’s Law of Extremes, which states:

            If one beer is good for you, extreme quantities of beer is extremely good for you.

            Apply this law liberally to anything you like, sex, food, booze, drugs…

        2. See…..MC2477708/ , from Government Almighty itself! Even GAWD (Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers) admits that lose-dose radiation is actually GOOD for you!

      2. Actually, on that note, the way that ionizing radiation interacts with living matter, how it causes damage, and how that damage is repaired, is really interesting to me. My first-ever research experience in biology was working with the extremely radiation resistant bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans and some similarly resistant bacterial species recently isolated from a desert out west, and at least at the time, there was considerable controversy over how these bacteria tolerate radiation. There’s also some ongoing work on non-genomic mechanisms through which radiation (in the setting of radiation therapy) causes cell death.

        Cool stuff, would be great if people didn’t freak out over it, especially where the radiation is at low/harmless levels.

        1. It is very interesting because our bodies are constantly battling single and double strand DNA breaks.. and we survive.

          Exercising causes much more damage to DNA than low dose radiation yet we don’t see massive cancer occurrences in athletic people. People who live in Denver Colorado are exposed to a much higher natural background level of radiation yet they are statistically more healthy than the average American.

          Radiation certainly overwhelms your bodies defense systems at some point, but it is much much higher than where our current limits are. Nuclear plant operational costs have suffered immensely from these ultra-conservative limits. The NRC should have to show cost-benefit analysis for any new regulation they propose. A new regulation that costs the industry a billion dollars with the potential of saving 5 lives from an event with a 0.001% probability is not a reasonable regulation.

          1. A new regulation that costs the industry a billion dollars with the potential of saving 5 lives from an event with a 0.001% probability is not a reasonable regulation.


    4. Anti-GMO, anti-fraking, anti-vaccine.

      Oh, my name it is nothin’
      In the whole of the collective
      The State I come from
      Is called NorCal,
      I was taught there at Berkeley
      The laws of nature we decide.
      By the edict of our superiority,
      The land that I live in
      Has Science on its side.

      I’ve learned to hate the Red States,
      Koch suckers and Bitter Clingers,
      All through my whole life
      If another Republican is selected
      We’ll reverse course in this fight
      As not to give to them sanction
      The course forward is not Right.
      As it is only our faction
      With Science on our side.

  2. This cracked me the hell up. I’m as non-confrontational as they come, so I love this guy for being a confrontation surrogate. Hope it’s a real thing.

    1. (OT, BTW)

    2. good find.

      1. The best part is his mother at the end.

      1. And follow up (pretty much the same idea as your link).

    3. Hilarious.

    4. Some stupid cunt with a bad attitude once tried to get on my shit for calling her ‘ma’m.’

      ‘You know why I called you ‘ma’m’?’

      ‘Oh, please do tell me.’

      ‘Because my grandmother was a whole lot more fucking scary than you could ever hope to be. She set the rule, not you, punk.’

      Her mouth dropped to the ground. One of the most satisfying moments in my life.

  3. One problem with the anti-science types is that they phrase things in ways that sound plausible to anyone who doesn’t think very much, and it’s very difficult to explain why these reasonable-sounding arguments are actually completely unsupported.

  4. Most anti-GMO are funded by environmental climate change organizations. What’s their equivalent of “OMG KOCH BORTHERS!?!?!?”?

    1. Yes, but they are fighting the good fight and are on the side of righteousness. So it’s okay when they do it.

    2. OMG MONSANTO!!!

    1. Congrats sloop! Liberty is born!

      1. Now on to the great “Middle Name Controversy”. We decided to do our own this time around and give everybody on here a chance again next time/year.

        The names under serious consideration are:
        Liberty Ordeth Spicer
        Liberty Ordeath Spicer
        Liberty Cranberry Spicer
        Liberty Pumpkin Spicer
        Liberty Oredeth Cranberry Spicer


        1. Liberty Sic Semper Tyrannus Spicer

          Or if you are feeling bold:

          Liberty Sic Semper Evello Mortem Tyrannis Spicer

        2. #1….more subtle. Will take her teachers (unless you’re homeschooling) a while to figure it out when they do role call.

          1. So no love whatsoever for the Thanksgiving/Hanukkah tie-in, huh? I am leaning toward Liberty Ordeth Cranberry Spicer for that reason alone. Or for the full tie-in, Liberty Ordeth Cranberry Dreidel Spicer.

            1. I’m just thinking of some poor, benighted socialista teacher choking on the name after he/she realizes what it means. The additional of Cranberry kind disturbs the flow.

            2. You don’t want to cram too much kitsch into a name. Keep it in one theme, like Kristen said.

              1. Only serial killers and presidents (with much overlap in the two groups) get called by their full name, so it’s really no big deal, but I think it will end up being Liberty Ordeth Spicer. The Thanksgiving theme will have to wait until next year’s child I suppose.

                1. Only serial killers and presidents … get called by their full name

                  You forgot Assassins.

                  1. Only serial killers and presidents … get called by their full name

                    I’ve never heard anyone refer to Alex Bell, inventor of the phone.

                    1. Wasn’t it Elisha Gray who did that?

        3. Ordeth almost lookes like Orenthal.
          Why are you naming your daughter after history’s second greatest monster?

            1. obviously.

              1. That’s terrible, you’re letting OJ take Nikki’s tiara? He’ll look ridiculous in it…on second thought I approve this message.

        4. “Liberty Pumpkin Spicer”

          Only if Starbucks gives you a good price for advertising their pumpkin spice latte.

          1. That’s the main reason I was against it.
            EDG proposed Liberty Cornucopia Spicer, but I don’t really want my baby being named “Horn Of Plenty” when she reaches her teens.

            1. :snicker:

            2. To be fair, nobody will know what it means because kids are dumb.

              1. +1 Amerikan Edukashun Sistym

            3. Liberty Belle Spicer

        5. Liberty Latke Spicer

        6. Name her Rothbard Friedman Spicer, she’ll be the Chosen One who will unite the tribes and take back the country from the socialist.

          1. Her name is a killing word…

        7. Stick with Undetermined.

    2. Congrats you two crazy kids!

    3. Outstanding. Now only 65 more to go for the record.


      1. Shit, I wish you would have told me about that 25 years ago when I turned 18.*

        *Wait, Banjos would have been 6, and I ain’t a Muslim prophet so that’s out.

        1. There’s always Mormonism. They haven’t had a prophet for a while.

      1. My wife is now walking around blaming me for our baby not being here. She says the baby is beautiful and so it Banjos, but now she’s just fully pregnant, grumpy and jealous.

        I’m going to see if I can distract her with ice cream.

        1. I should have let you know that this was a race and that one of us would have a seriously pissed off wife after the other one had their baby. But if I did that, you would have done things differently and I’d be sitting here shaking my fist at you while being berated with insults from Kara.

          So….sorry for your luck.

          1. Yeah, but you should be used to the bitching since you had to go through it last year.

            (This is why there are no libertarian women….)

          2. I think as the “new guy”, its my job to earn this knowledge, right? Congrats again.

    4. Congratulations!

    5. You do good work there Sloop. Congrats to you and your better half!

      1. How about Liberty Belle:)

        1. I’m struggling to come up with something witty and JB nails it.

          Congratulations to Ken and Kara and their whole family!

          … Hobbit

    6. Congratulations! Absolutely beautiful!

      Personally I love Liberty Ordeath Spicer.

      Keep in mind when choosing the name that one day you and Banjos will be old and infirm, and in her care.

    7. Congrats to you and the Missus!

  5. If anti-GMO activists want to jump on the bandwagon that there is a giant conspiracy against them by the scientific establishment, I urge them to do so, and wish them luck.

    Running around declaring that those evil scientists are out to get them will only further detract from any scientific credibility they might have had, any further emphasize the breadth of the scientific consensus against them.

    1. Running around declaring that those evil scientists are out to get them will only further detract from any scientific credibility they might have had

      If only…

    2. Evidence, not consensus. Science isn’t democracy but unfortunately some of it is turning into theocracy these days.

  6. The comet that could: Scientists believe there’s still hope Ison survived its trip around the Sun.

    1. there’s still hope Ison survived its trip around the Sun.

      …and wishes it hadn’t.

  7. In one of his books, Sokal hems and haws and finally excuses scientists who exaggerate their findings (this is aimed at the GW catastrophists) since ‘it’s so important!’.
    Like it or not, the same excuse applies here, since ‘natural food’ is equally important to these sorts of whackos.
    If you are to claim science, please do so; shoemaker, stick to your last.

  8. Ison is like the Michigan Wolverines of celestial bodies. Hope all you want but they still collapsed when expectations were high.

    1. You’ll love this Sloop…..g-letter-m

  9. Krugman attempts to attribute healthcare cost reductions to Obamacare

    So what aspects of Obamacare might be causing health costs to slow? One clear answer is the act’s reduction in Medicare “overpayments” ? mainly a reduction in the subsidies to private insurers offering Medicare Advantage Plans, but also cuts in some provider payments. A less certain but likely source of savings involves changes in the way Medicare pays for services. The program now penalizes hospitals if many of their patients end up being readmitted soon after being released ? an indicator of poor care ? and readmission rates have, in fact, fallen substantially. Medicare is also encouraging a shift from fee-for-service, in which doctors and hospitals get paid by the procedure, to “accountable care,” in which health organizations get rewarded for overall success in improving care while controlling costs.
    And the biggest savings may be yet to come. The Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel with the power to impose cost-saving measures (subject to Congressional overrides) if Medicare spending grows above target, hasn’t yet been established, in part because of the near-certainty that any appointments to the board would be filibustered by Republicans yelling about “death panels.”

    1. The news on health costs is, in short, remarkably good. You won’t hear much about this good news until and unless the Obamacare website gets fixed. But under the surface, health reform is starting to look like a bigger success than even its most ardent advocates expected.

      The Titanic’s amenities and luxuriousness is still unmatched! Just wait until we get that flooding under control, then she’ll really be a success!

    2. What cost reductions?

      The only examples cited might count as costs to the state avoided, but when you factor in that places like NY make room in their budgets for increased medic* costs by cutting fraud investigators… I’m not sold on any good coming out of these schemes.

    3. “Rate Hikes Hidden in California’s Glowing Obamacare Reviews”
      “But the figures do call into question the sweeping plaudits California has received ? including from New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in Monday’s newspaper…”

      He’s been busted for cheerleading.…

    4. So, the only cost reductions are coming from changes to a government program? Not the mandate, new requirements for insurance, etc?

      So couldn’t they have accomplished the same thing with a Medicare reform bill?

    5. A doctor shortage in the works means fewer cases are treated; so, yes, money will be saved. I’ll grant you that much economic literacy, K-baby.

    6. A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation also partly attributed the slower inflation to increased cost-sharing and higher deductibles. Which of course the ACA is designed to limit.

      Krugman ignores this because it doesn’t fit the narrative he’s shilling for.

    7. “The Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel with the power to impose cost-saving measures …”



      They chose IPAD instead of “Death Panel”.

    8. You mean the cost growth that slowed before BarryCare went into effect? That slowing? The evil koala really likes his revisionist history.

      1. Soviet era joke, “The future is completely certain, it’s the past that’s unpredictable.”

  10. Couple weeks old, but just arrived in my email inbox from the Innocence Project. Opposite of a good ol’-fashioned Balko-style nut punch.

    1. Ted S. is going to come after you…..tor-who-se

      right after he goes after sloopy for reposting Liberty’s birth announcement. At least sloopy didn’t make a slide show or we’d never hear the end of it.

      1. Ted posted something this morning and he didn’t capitalize Reason. I didn’t give him any shit about it, and for that I will be eternally sorry.

        1. Except it isn’t Reason, it’s actually always reason (lookit the magazine covers). And now you made me defend Ted. You are a monster!

          1. Aha, I should’ve known he wouldn’t make such a rookie mistake.

            1. It’s nice to see I’ve become a habitu? here. 🙂

      2. Shit, man, that was, like, ages ago and it was probably a telework day (I don’t get on reason too much when I telework).

        Anyway, good news always bears repeating.

      3. Wait, why is Ted going after me again? The game’s not till tomorrow.

        1. Did things go well for you and your wife?

          1. Yeah, pretty much. We wanted to do a traditional birth but after 12+ hours of labor, Kara’s body just wasn’t gonna get the job done so they ended up doing a C-Section last night. Baby and mama are in perfect health and looking great. Now we’re just figuring out the middle name.

            1. Costanza.

              You’re welcome.

            2. Go with ‘Ordeth’. It’s the best one. Great play on words and the name itself sounds like a sufficiently real archaic name that plenty of libby teachers will pop out the whole name and have it dawn on them as the last syllable leaves their lips.


    Quebec has world class micro breweries. And the names of the beers are hilarious.

    1. Quebec’s Council on the Status of Women, Julie Miville-Dech?ne

      The hyphen is always the tell.

      1. She’s clearly a victim of the patriarchy for even attaching her husband’s name to her own. Real feminists retain their original names!


          REAL feminists take the names of Sappho’s lovers as their surname.

          As a staunch feminist ally I’m going to go out and change my name to Jesse Gongyla.

      2. Women, Julie Miville-Dech?ne, said the names are unacceptable.

        “The name La Tite Pute disgusts me,” Miville-Dech?ne said.

        “[Prostitution] exploits women. There isn’t a lot of choice involved, there is a lot of exploitation, a lot of violence. It’s not something we should be laughing about,” Miville-Dech?ne said.

        Well, ain’t that some shit, Julie. Sounds like they really got you hoppin’ mad. You could use a beer. Here have another. Feeling frisky, yet, tu tite pute?

        1. Some of the funniest shit I’ve ever seen and heard in my life was at any outdoor rink inhabited by French-Canadians. It would destroy Miville-Dechene what I heard – and partook in.

          It wasn’t all that off from Slap Shot.

          1. I’ve been around plenty of their Acadian cousins so I can imagine the rakes you over heard.

            1. Yeah. They’re nuts. Their personalities and character is so individualistic – or at least possess an individualist streak – it’s one of the sweet mysteries of political history as to how this place became so left-wing/socialists.

              1. Probably thinking they could do whatever they want to plus even more if someone else is paying their bills.

    2. Damn, I gotta buy me some of them.

      Brands like those have gotta be made up by gang-raping Republicans who want tho force their victims to have their babies,

      1. You can’t run a business in peace anymore, eh?

  12. Hey Dudes? Speaking of science v/s anti-science, how ’bout that them thar ORGANIC food bein’ fer the birds?!?!? Excerpt from my web site, & keep in mind, in Scienfoology, GAWD = Government Almighhty’s Wrath Delivers? Speaking of food, I must add a few notes about ORGANIC food. Did you know that organic food is NOT for the birds? See…..230515.htm , our feathered friends would MUCH rather eat NON-organically grown seeds, DESPITE all that extra carbon-tetrachloride-plutoniumate-arsenate-cyanide that we ALL know is SO much more prevalent in the non-organic foods! So, non-organic foods are “for the birds”? Just so that you know? ALSO please note that GAWD mandates that organically-grown meats need to be FALSELY labeled, for your protection, concerning the FACT that they contain cancer-causing nitrates and nitrites (but sellers can’t tell you that). Because, after all, organic food is magically “better” all around? Yes, this is true, see…..otdog.html … To their credit, some organic food providers would like for GAWD to allow them to tell us the truth? NOT that I am trying to slam GAWD, now!

  13. I dont think Jackie So so is going to like that.

  14. This retracted article is a symptom of what often ails the scientific community: deciding the outcome BEFORE the studies are done.

    There is so much of this problem going around the scientific community one cannot give their work much credibility.

    1. “deciding the outcome BEFORE the studies are done.”

      Agendas can’t be expected to push themselves.

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