On March 20, 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) unleashed a firestorm with its analysis of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides, including glyphosate. Their finding that “the herbicide glyphosate and the insecticides malathion and diazinon were classified as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A)” has resulted in at least 100 lawsuits against agri-giant Monsanto, whose Roundup herbicide contains more than 50 percent glyphosate. The lawsuits, which are being handled in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, allege that exposure to this dangerous chemical has resulted in the plaintiffs or their loved ones developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In the course of these lawsuits, some very damaging documents have come to light, including evidence that the editor-in-chief of the journal that retracted a damaging glyphosate study had a contractual relationship with Monsanto.
The groundbreaking study by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini was first published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) back in September 2012. The study determined that both Monsanto’s NK603 GM maize variety and its Roundup herbicide led to kidney and liver damage in rats, among other serious health effects. Then, in November 2013, FCT’s editor-in-chief, A. Wallace Hayes, bowing to external pressure, retracted the study, claiming that its findings were “inconclusive,” thereby inferring that they were inaccurate or misleading. This was obviously very damaging to Professor Seralini’s reputation, and was a massive victory for Monsanto. (Related: Discover the truth about GMOs and herbicides at GMO.news)
Fortunately for those who rely on unbiased, accurate scientific research, after passing through three rounds of rigorous peer review, the study was republished in the reputable journal Environmental Sciences Europe.
An earlier Natural News article explained:
Inadvertently, the vested interests that sought to discredit Seralini’s study actually reinforced its findings by ramming it through multiple additional layers of peer review. Even the secret panel that evaluated it a second time, presumably in an effort to discredit it, was unable to come up with anything damning, affirming that there was absolutely nothing incorrect about its stated findings.
Now, internal documents released during the glyphosate court cases make it clear that Monsanto launched an immediate campaign to get Seralini’s work retracted after it was published, and that this included entering into a contractual arrangement with Hayes just before that retraction took place.
First of all, Monsanto hired “third party experts,” apparently unconnected to the company to put pressure on Hayes to retract the study.
Monsanto scientist David Saltmiras was directly involved in this pressure campaign, and also boasted in email correspondence about leveraging his “relationship [with] the Editor i[n] Chief of the publishing journal,” which, of course, was Hayes.
Part of that “leveraging” apparently involved entering into a contract with Hayes just before the process of retracting the Seralini study began. As already noted, the study was initially published on September 19, 2012. Hayes’ contract with Monsanto came into effect September 7, 2012. Hayes was paid $400 an hour, ostensibly to establish a network of scientists in South America, participate in a meeting there, and arrange a seminar discussing glyphosate toxicology in 2013.
As soon as he signed that contract, Hayes should have recused himself from any further involvement in the Seralini study, but he chose to keep his conflict of interest to himself. He even went so far as to assure Danny Hakim of The New York Times that “Monsanto played no role whatsoever in the decision that was made to retract.”
Irrespective of his protestations, it is clear he had a huge, undisclosed conflict of interest. Furthermore, the very timing of this convenient “contract” with Monsanto immediately calls his integrity into question.
GM Watch explains clearly exactly what needs to happen next:
Now that Monsanto’s involvement in the retraction of the Séralini paper is out in the open, FCT and Hayes should do the decent thing and issue a formal apology to Prof Séralini and his team. FCT cannot and should not reinstate the paper, because it is now published by another journal. But it needs to draw a line under this shameful episode, admit that it handled it badly, and declare its support for scientific independence and objectivity.