French Study Finds Massive Tumors And Organ Damage in Rats Fed GMOs

[UPDATE: This post has been updated to reflect that study was in fact reviewed by peers. We had misquoted the Reuter's piece.]

A study published today finds that rats with prolonged exposure to roundup-ridden corn found suffered health problems including mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage. While numerous 90-day studies have already linked GMO foods to allergies and other health problems, the study, which was published in "Food and Chemical Toxicology," marks the first-ever long term animal study on the health effects of genetically engineered foods.

The abstract of the study points out the effects of the Roundup on rats after two years. Says the study:

The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2-3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was vis- ible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological pro- files 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 mod- ified 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 which occurred up to 600 days earlier. Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences.

The results of the study comes as California voters consider the Proposition 37 Right to Know initiative to label genetically engineered foods in the November elections. The initiative has two main provisions. The first requires "labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specific ways." The second bans foods from being labeled "natural" when they contain genetically-altered ingredients. Some exceptions will apply to certain foods such as, "certified organic; unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages."

Something to keep in mind, as Reuters points out in their piece on the matter, is that one of the lead researchers has a history of being a critic of the industry. Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues also did not put the study up for peer review before publication, allow reporters to seek outside comment on their paper before its publication, which might also raise some flags for critics (and Monsanto, for that matter.)

The full study can be viewed here.