PARIS (Dow Jones) — A French biotech advising body Monday rejected the findings of a study carried out by a French university linking an increase in rat tumors with the feeding of a genetically modified corn made by U.S. multinational agricultural biotechnology firm Monsanto Co.
The High Council of Biotechnology, an independent state panel which advises the French government, said in a statement Monday that the study is unable to prove a causation link between the increased rate of tumors and feeding with the corn because of flaws in method.
“The Council's Scientific Committee concludes the study doesn't bring supportive scientific information about the identification of a sanitary risk,” the statement said, while recommending further investigation.
The advisory body backs Monsanto's dismissal of the study, which was released last month together with shocking photos of lab rats showing huge deformities presented as tumors. The U.S. biotech firm has been struggling for more than a decade to get its genetically modified seeds authorized in France, even though they are widely used in countries such as the U.S. and Brazil and authorized in the rest of the European Union.
The High Council of Biotechnology statement comes hours before the French food safety agency is scheduled to release its official position on the study.
The French government has said it could seek an immediate ban on European Union imports of genetically modified corn.
The September study, which recommended further research, was received with skepticism by many scientists.
France has been in dispute with EU partners over another variety of genetically modified corn made by Monsanto. French authorities have been blocking its use even though it was authorized in the rest of the EU, and even though the Conseil d'Etat, France's top administrative court, ordered the ban to be lifted.
In Europe, many consumers remain skeptical about the use of genetically modified organisms.
Source: Dow Jones
Posted by Haylie Shipp