Rats feed a type of genetically modified corn died younger, and suffered a range of tumours and cancers, a new French study found.
The report in the online edition of the International Journal of Food Toxicity by a team of researchers at the University of Caen in northern France looked at rats fed on the GM crop for two years.
"The results are alarming. We observed a typical two to three time higher mortality rate among females," said researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini.
What the research showed
"There are two to three times more tumours in rats of both sexes," he added. Two hundred rats were fed a GM corn strain named NK603 for two years, as well as the herbicide Roundup. Both products are owned by the US company Monsanto.
"For the first time ever, a GM and a pesticide were evaluated for their health impact for longer than health agencies, governments and industry have done," said Seralini.
According to the professor, NK603 has only been tested for up to three months previously. "These are the best tests you can have, before going on to test on humans," he added.
In Brussels, a spokesman for the EU Health Commissioner John Dalli said the European Commission would be examining the study.
"The European Food Safety Authority will have to study precisely under which conditions this study was carried out. If this study proves to have a scientific foundation and offers a scientific novelty, then the commission will have to draw its conclusions," he said.
Anais Fourest, a campaigner at Greenpeace, said: "This study reinforces our concerns over the significantly negative impacts of GMOs on human and animal health."
"New scientific studies are needed quickly to confirm these results. We must not play with the health of Europeans," she said.
(Sapa, September 2012)