Damning email evidence against the explicit role of Monsanto in sabotaging the most important scientific study of the health effects of a Monsanto GMO diet has come to light in a US court case. Were the mainstream media and government health authorities to look at the implications seriously, it could well sound the long-overdue death knell for the grotesque experiment known as Genetically Manipulated Organisms or GMO. To make it easier for them to grasp what the implications are we elaborate the following.
A US food transparency organization, US Right to Know (USRTK), has recently obtained damning emails of correspondence between Monsanto (today Monsanto-Bayer) and A. Wallace Hayes, the Editor-in-chief of the once-respected scientific journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT). As well, they reveal email exchanges between Monsanto and Richard E. Goodman, a professor at the University of Nebraska who was invited to join the journal’s editorial board shortly after the publication by the journal of a peer-reviewed study by French Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini and his team at Caen University of the harmful effects on rats over a two-year period of a diet of Monsanto GMO corn.
The email exchanges confirm charges this writer made at the time that Monsanto and other GMO industry companies acted to destroy the scientific evidence by destroying the scientific reputation of Seralini and associates. Now the sordid corruption attempt has backfired on Monsanto.
In September 2012 Food and Chemical Toxicology, a respected scientific trade journal, released a study by a team of scientists at France’s Caen University led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini. The results of the study sent shockwaves around the world. Seralini’s group had just completed the world’s first-ever feeding study of the effect on more than 200 rats of a diet of GMO corn over a period of a full two years at a cost of €3 million. The study was ultimately published after a four-month peer-review process by scientifically qualified colleagues and after two years of research in absolute secrecy to avoid industry pressure.
Perhaps most astonishing was the fact that the Seralini study was the first long-term study of the effects of a GMO diet in the world after almost two decades of widespread proliferation of GMO crops. No one else until then had made tests over the entire two year life span of rats—no government, no university, no food end-user like Nestle, Unilever, Kellogg or Kraft Foods or any such mega food concerns using GMO in their products. All previous studies were merely a brief three months or less, far too short a time to determine the possible effects of a GMO diet, as Seralini’s study dramatically confirmed.
Seralini’s group based their experiment on the same protocol as the original Monsanto study but, critically, testing more parameters more frequently. And the rats were studied for much longer—their full two year average life-time instead of just 90 days in the Monsanto study. The long time span proved critical. The first tumors only appeared after 4 to7 months into the study. In industry’s earlier 90-day study on the same GMO maize, Monsanto NK603, signs of toxicity were seen but were dismissed as “not biologically meaningful” by industry and EFSA alike. As Seralini’s study confirmed, they were indeed very biologically meaningful.
The Seralini study concluded, “In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls; the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls…”
Four times means four hundred percent more large tumors in GMO fed rats than in normally fed ones of the control group. Moreover, the Seralini study reported, “By the beginning of the 24th month, 50–80% of female animals had developed tumors in all treated groups, with up to 3 tumors per animal, whereas only 30% of controls [non-GMO-fed—w.e.] were affected. The Roundup treatment groups showed the greatest rates of tumor incidence with 80% of animals affected with up to 3 tumors for one female, in each group.”
Seralini’s 2012 study also independently confirmed carcinogenic effects of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide paired with the GMO corn. Roundup is a glyphosate-based weed-killer, the world’s most widely-used one that has just been recertified for 18 months by the EU Commission, despite unprecedented calls for its ban.
The Seralini study stated, “We observed a strikingly marked induction of mammary tumors by R (Roundup) alone, a major formulated pesticide, even at the very lowest dose administered. R has been shown to disrupt aromatase which synthesizes estrogens (Richard et al., 2005), but to also interfere with estrogen and androgen receptors in cells (Gasnier et al., 2009). In addition, R appears to be a sex endocrine disruptor in vivo, also in males (Romano et al., 2010). Sex steroids are also modified in treated rats. These hormone-dependent phenomena are confirmed by enhanced pituitary dysfunction in treated females.”
Mammary tumors that developed in rats fed GMO corn and/or low levels of Roundup. From the Seralini paper “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modiﬁed maize,” published in Food and Chemical Toxicology.
Within hours of the publication of the Seralini study in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal, a coordinated global media campaign to discredit the conclusions was launched. No facts were presented, merely allegations that the study was “unscientific.”
The official EU food safety advisory body of “independent” experts, EFSA, denounced the Seralini study even before making an independent comparable long-term study to verify or refute it. EFSA had recommended approval of Monsanto’s NK603 Roundup-tolerant maize in 2009 without first conducting or insuring any independent testing. They “trusted” the studies given them by Monsanto. On November 28, 2012, only a few weeks after the study was published, EFSA in Brussels issued a press release with the following conclusion: “Serious defects in the design and methodology of a paper by Séralini et al. mean it does not meet acceptable scientific standards and there is no need to re-examine previous safety evaluations of genetically modified maize NK603.” It was utter scientific nonsense and violated professional scientific standards of review.
Unknown to most EU citizens, EFSA scientific board members had been exposed for direct and indirect ties to the same GMO industry it is responsible to monitor, including Monsanto front organizations. The chairman of EFSA was forced to step down in 2012 from EFSA when it was revealed she had ties to International Life Science Institute (ILSI), funded by Monsanto, Bayer and other GMO companies. Two scientists on the EFSA GMO panel that dismissed the Seralini results as.“
What was to pass next was however unprecedented in modern scientific journal history.
Monsanto ‘edits’ Food and Chemical Toxicology
In a July 12, 2016 article in the French newspaper Le Monde by award-winning investigative science journalist, Stéphane Foucart, content of sensational and damning email exchanges between Monsanto officials in St. Louis headquarters and Food and Chemical Technology editor-in-chief, A. Wallace Hayes, obtained by US Right to Know (USRTK), reveal that Hayes was secretly in correspondence with Monsanto over the Seralini study his journal had published.
In early September 2012, the study by Gilles-Eric Séralini was published. On 19 September, 2012 according to the emails seen by Foucart, Nebraska University professor Richard Goodman, a former Monsanto employee who continued research work that was primarily funded by Monsanto and the agribusiness industry, informed Monsanto about the publication of the Séralini’s article. Goodman wrote his Monsanto contact that he “would appreciate” it if Monsanto could provide him with criticisms against the Seralini piece. Monsanto replied to Goodman, “We’re reviewing the paper. I will send you the arguments that we have developed.” A few days later, Goodman was named “associate editor” responsible for biotechnology, i.e. GMO, a specially-created post at Food and Chemical Toxicology journal, by Wallace Hayes, then editor.
This Goodman appointment was not made public until February 2013. Foucart notes that the addition of Goodman on the editorial board of the magazine was a direct immediate response to the Seralini publication. On November 2, 2012, when the “Séralini affair” as it was being called, was threatening to topple the entire GMO global project, Hayes announced in an email to Monsanto that Goodman would from now on be in charge of biotechnology at the journal. Hayes added: “My request, as editor, and from Professor Goodman, is that those of you who are highly critical of the recent paper by Séralini and his co-authors volunteer as potential reviewers.” In other words, Hayes was formally inviting Monsanto toxicologists to do an unprecedented second peer review of the Seralini study.
With Goodman on board at the journal, Hayes initiated an unprecedented step of a second round of “peer” review, the first review being the one that led to the study being published. In a manner more suitable to the 15th Century Spanish Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición, the reviewers were kept anonymous so that presence of Monsanto or GMO-industry-linked scientists, as editor Hayes had requested of Monsanto, would be impossible to confirm. The anonymous “peers” concluded that the Seralini paper, which had already passed peer-review and had been published for a year, and had nothing demonstrated to be wrong with it beyond the fact that, in common with countless other scientific papers, it was “inconclusive” on some endpoints, was unsuitable for publication and was immediately removed, over vehement protest from scientists from around the world.
The publication of scientific peer-reviewed papers is of such importance that the publishing industry maintains a set of ethical standards to govern possible controversy. Journals should publish ‘retractions’ if a work is proven to be fraudulent, or ‘expressions of concern’ if editors have well-founded suspicions of misconduct.
In the Seralini study none of this was the case. Instead Seralini’s work was removed, retracted, with the clear collusion of Monsanto and Editors Hayes and Goodman. Were more serious, ethically-motivated investigative journalists or editors at, say, the New York Times or The Guardian or the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung or Der Spiegel to look more closely into the Le Monde email charges and the entire background to the Seralini affair, were they to devote the same amount of energy they dedicated to dubious undertakings as the recent Panama Papers offshore banking scandals, it could change our world for the good and bring to a just end this criminal enterprise, created out of the eugenics dreams of the Rockefeller Foundation, called GMO.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”