World-famous independent scientist researching the risks of GMOs wins libel
case against biotech association fronting a concerted campaign to discredit and
victimise him Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
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Séralini, professor of molecular biology at the University of Caen in France, and president of the scientific council for independent research on genetic
engineering (CRIIGEN), is a leading researcher into the risks of GMOs. Not
surprisingly, he and his team became the target a concerted campaign of
vilification, which included Monsanto, EFSA (European Food Safety Authority)
and scientific societies representing biotechnology in France: the French
Association of Plant Biotechnology and the French High Counsel on Biotechnology
(see  Defend Gilles-Eric Seralini
and Transparency in GMO Risk Assessment!SiS 46).
This attach was triggered by the team’s recent thorough re-analysis
of data submitted by Monsanto to obtain commercial approval in Europe for three
GM maize lines, MON 863, MON 810, NK603, on which EFSA had given a favourable
opinion. In a published paper, the team concluded that the data “highlight
signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to
each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences
of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.”
and his colleagues received massive support from scientists and civil society.
But Séralini decided to sue for libel; he believed the
researchers Claude Allegre, Axel Kahn, and Marc Fellous were behind the
defamation and intimidation campaign in France and that is why he pursued
Fellous, who chairs the French Association of Plant Biotechnologies (AFBV), in
the courts. Séralini argued
that the campaign had damaged his reputation, reducing his opportunities for
work and his chances of getting funding for his research .
On Tuesday 18 January 2011, the court of Paris concluded the lawsuit
and decided in Séralini’s
favour, much to everyone’s surprise .
During the trial, it transpired that Fellous, who presented himself
as a ‘neutral’ scientist without personal interests, and accused those who
criticise GMOs as ‘ideological’ and ‘militant’, actually owns patents through a
company based in Israel. This company sells patents to corporations such as
Aventis. Seralini’s lawyer showed that various other AFBV members also have
links with agribusiness companies, and so their scientific impartiality and
integrity came under intense scrutiny.
The judge sentenced the AFBV to a fine on probation of €1 000, €1
for compensation (as requested by the plaintiff) and €4 000 in court fees.
Corinne Lepage, president of CRIIGEN, was delighted by the victory,
as she stressed that she was not optimistic when leaving the first court
session that had been held on 23 November 2010. ”One cannot any longer say
whatever one wants about whistleblower,” she said. “It is the first time that a
whistleblower is not on the defensive but on the offensive.”
Commenting on the court victory, Pete Riley of UK’s GM Freeze said: “We warmly welcome this judgement and are delighted for Professor
Séralini. Let’s hope that we now see an end to the type of smear campaign we
saw in this case and others over the last decade or so. Freedom of
independent scientists to challenge the finding of scientific findings funded
by an industry trying to sell seeds or chemicals is a vital element. The
history of technological disasterstells us that industry and regulators are
the last people to recognise and admit there is a problem. We fully support
Séralini's right to pursue his research on GM crops and wish him more power.”
Dr Brian John of GM-Free Cymru said: “This is a very gratifying
outcome to a case which would never have been necessary had the GM industry
followed long-standing traditions of respect for fellow scientists and honest
debates with academics whose views, and research findings, do not coincide with
theirs. For years now, the industry and its apologists have indulged in
the vilification and intimidation of those who have the temerity to question
the safety ofGM products… Some quite senior academics working for
the GM industry have behaved more like thugs than scientists. Their
philosophy has always been to “shoot the messenger.” Their
list of victims is a long one: Arpad Pusztai, Ignacio Chapela and David Quist,
Irina Ermakova, Judy Carman, Manuela Malatesta, Andres Carrasco, and many
“We congratulate Prof. Séralini for having the courage to stand his ground and fight back. Let’s
hope his success will make GM multinationals and the regulators give
independent scientists the respect that they deserve.”
More importantly, our regulators should take heed of Séralini’s findings and those of other
independent scientists around the world in their persistent efforts to foist
GMOs on the people.
Ho MW and Saunders PT. Defend Giles-Eric Séralini and transparency in GMO risk assessment. Science in
Society 46, 4, 2010.
Clare Dimmer Comment left 26th January 2011 22:10:18 Congratulations! This is fantastic news - but the Establishment will fight back with all the money and media power they can muster - guaranteed! If not I'll eat my (organic!) hat.
Prof Amyan Macfadyen Comment left 26th January 2011 22:10:38 Hearty congratulations to Professor Séralini on his victory and to the impartiality of the French justice system.
susan Comment left 26th January 2011 22:10:00 Foist gmo's on people was not necessarily the goal. World domination putting these corporations at war with governments, science and citizens is.
Anyone who has been involved in activism, independent science and farming has been a target.
Todd Millions Comment left 27th January 2011 09:09:42 Good show-The Israeli patent connection needs more exploring.That and the popes secret support for GMO(wiki leaks-apparently he's using his counsil on social issues too lube this-not the science counsil.May all the little crawling one true gods save us from the qualified opinions of the holy sociologists!).I suspect the EU trade negotioations with Canada- may be angling for nafta style chapter 11 ish exemptions for GM crops and products.I would advise more efforts on ferreting out if this is the case-and have appropriate responces on hand for such an announcment.
Rory Short Comment left 27th January 2011 09:09:34 More strength to Prof. Seralini and it seems that the French legal system succeeds at being fair and balanced. I am delighted.
Doreen Flanagan Comment left 4th February 2011 11:11:50 Having suffered the effects of Monsanto's Roundup used like perfume around the village where I live, I congratulate Professor Seralini, and all those good people working with him, and send love and blessings.
Gene E Sperling Comment left 26th January 2011 22:10:15 Horray!
I dream of the day that the United States comes to their senses and recognizes the need for independent research on GM crops and pesticides.
We remain helplessly on the edge of a precipice, with a President readying an approval for Monsanto to begin marketing Round-up ready alfalfa.
Until the time of our awakening we remain allied with the rest of 'the third world' countries helplessly captured by Corporations/Politicians.
Chees, Gene Sperling, Environmental Pharmacist
Mr Anupam Paul Comment left 26th January 2011 22:10:08 Its a great victory for the independent non- corporate scientific communities,farmers,common people and the mother earth as well. During the middle ages science was controlled by the church and at present it has been replaced by the corporates.People are given to understand that they only understand science as they pour huge amount of fund in the institutes and influence the policy makers to speak in favour of their product in the name of science.
gyorgyi baunok Comment left 26th January 2011 22:10:01 Bravo!
GMO foods absolute deadly ,because our tomic "bugs"have to "remodel"themself to able to dealing with the altered foods.
Long run:we all people in the Earth can die from it!!! thank You GB
Brian Sandle Comment left 31st January 2016 07:07:00 An update: