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Show us the data: EFSA urges Séralini

By Nathan Gray , 22-Oct-2012
Last updated the 22-Oct-2012 at 15:51 GMT

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has again urged the researchers behind a recent study linking GM maize to tumours in rats to provide the full research data – after the regulator released its data relating to safety evaluations.

The repeated request from EFSA came after it gave Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini – the researcher behind the recent study – access to all of the available data relating to its evaluation of genetically modified (GM) maize NK603.

EFSA said it has provided the data under a routine procedure for the release of information known as a Public Access to Documents request.

However the European regulator has now repeated its previous request for further data from Séralini’s recently published study. EFSA has already sent two letters sent to the Professor – one dated 4 October 2012 and a further one on 18 October 2012.

“To date EFSA has received no documentation from the authors of the Séralini et al.publication,” said EFSA.

The European regulatory authority it is seeking the additional data and documentation to help the second step of its evaluation process – which is due to be completed and published to be published in the coming weeks.
In closing the letter dated 18th October EFSA said: “We would urge you to share this with us as soon as possible.”

Last week a spokesperson at CRIIGEN said that although EFSA had made information publically available on its assessment of NK603 maize, the safety body had not yet released safety data on Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, citing the need to protect the company’s proprietary information.

She acknowledged that EFSA was likely to provide this data, but could not say whether Séralini intended to provide the safety authority with his full study details.

Growing calls 

It has also emerged that more than 700 scientists and academics have signed a petition urging the French researcher to release the study data. 

Among the petitioners is Dr Klaus Ammann, plant systems professor of the Swiss government’s Biosafety Committee and professor at the University of Bern.

"The serious demands by Séralini that regulatory bodies and the public make decisions about how food is grown based on his report require that he be transparent about the means and measures by which he has drawn conclusions," he said. "Anything less than the normal, full disclosures of data, leaves us all victims of political manipulation and highly theatrical propaganda – this is not science."

If the data is not forthcoming, petitioners have called on the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology to retract the study. The journal has released a statement  saying that it will publish letters criticising the study and a response from Séralini in an upcoming edition.

More information on EFSA’s initial review of the Séralini et al study is available online here , and includes a link to its original scientific opinion.

The scientists’ petition, including a full list of signatories, is available here .

Séralini’s study, as published in Food and Chemical Toxicology,is available online here.