Scientific Journal Retracts Story Linking GM Corn to Rat Cancer

Published December 2, 2013

The journal Food and Chemical Toxicology retracted a study claiming a link between genetically modified corn and cancer in laboratory rats. Scientists pointed out several flaws in the study, which was published in 2012.

Scientists showed the study used a strain of rats particularly susceptible to cancer with or without genetically modified corn. The study also evaluated too small a rat population, rendering it prone to random disparities. In addition, the study did not present control group information sufficient to rule out other cancer-causing factors.

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) praised the retraction of the study.

“We here at ACSH have weighed in on this study in the past” said Dr. Ruth Kava in an ACSH press statement. “We congratulated the European food safety agency on rejecting this study almost immediately upon its publication, and now we must congratulate the journal for retraction of the paper. But we would have been even more pleased to see this study rejected from publication in the first place—it doesn’t speak well for their peer review process that this study was published at all. However, it is encouraging to see that scientific integrity was upheld—even if it took a year to happen!”

Scientists and public health officials have never documented any instances of genetically modified foods causing cancer or any other negative health impacts.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.