After years of lobbying against genetically-modified crops (GMOs) without any science to back them, an international team is launching a new multi-year study to try to settle the question once and for all.
The group has backing from institutions in Russia, the United States and $25 million to run the study feeding GMO corn to 6,000 rats.
The study includes the effects of glyphosate herbicides which are sprayed on fields of GMO corn.
The research is to be done in Russia and western Europe over two to three years.
“The science on these GMOs is not settled by a long shot,” said Bruce Blumberg, an endocrinology expert at the University of California, Irvine, who sits on the study review board.
“Studies that were done by the manufacturers are the main ones showing safety, and those have an inherent conflict of interest,” he said.
So where is the money coming from for this new study? Is that, too, subject to "an inherent conflict of interest"? Just who can you trust these days?
The study’s leaders emphasize on its website they have “no connection” to either “the biotech industry or the anti-GMO movement.”
Monsanto, the leading developer of GMO crops, has many research studies that point to the safety of its products. Many U.S. university scientists also back the safety of GMOs, as do the Canadian and U.S. governments.
Karen Batra, a spokeswoman for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, says “merely a handful of studies” point to health or safety issues, and all have been debunked.
Still, the debate continues. Some biotech crop critics worry about pesticide residues in GMO foods, while others worry about what impact the crops have on the environment.