The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has promised to deliver next week its preliminary review of controversial research linking Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), and the glyphosate-tolerant genetically modified maize NK603 to cancer in rats.
A scientific review of the research – led by Professor Giles-Eric Séralini – will be published first, to be followed by a second assessment.
If information gaps are identified, the food safety watchdog said it would contact the authors to request further details of the two-year study.
EFSA said the research would also be discussed with member states' food safety agencies and with national representatives attending its Advisory Forum this week.
The research − led by Professor Giles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen− claimed that rats exposed to glyphosate and glyphosate tolerant maize, NK603, developed cancers in the form of mammary tumours plus liver and kidney damage.
Half of the males and 70% of females died prematurely, compared with only 30% and 20% respectively in the control group, claimed the researchers. Their research was published recently in the Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal.
But leading scientists have disputed the findings. Dr Wendy Harwood, senior scientist, John Innes Centre, said: "The full data set has not been made available, but the findings do not contradict previous findings that genetic modification itself is a neutral technology, with no inherent health or environmental risks.”