dimanche 7 octobre 2012

Retour sur les OGM

L'étude récente sur les dangers des OGM a fait l'objet d'une expertise indépendante, qui conclut comme indiqué ci dessous. Je ne traduis que l'abstract :


ABSTRACT
Le 19 décembre 2012,  Séralini et al. on publié dans le journal Food and Chemical Toxicology le résultat d'études sur 2 ans de rat alimenté avec du maïs génétiquement modifié NK603 avec et sans Roundup WeatherMAX et Roundup GT Plus alone (tous deux sont des produits de protection des plantes qui contiennent du glyphosate). L'EFSA a été mandaté par la Commission européenne pour évaluer la publication, et identifier des précisions qui pourraient être demandées aux auteurs. L'EFSA observe que l'étude de Séralini
et al. (2012) a des objectifs peu clairs, et qu'elle est mal présentée dans la publication, de nombreuses particularités expérimentales, importantes pour la conception, la mise en oeuvre et l'analyse, étant omises. Sans ces indications, il est impossible de parvenir aux conclusions que font les auteurs. On ne peut pas tirer de conclusion sur les différence dans l'incidence des tumeurs entre les groupes d'animaux sur la base de l'analyse et des résultats données par  Séralini et al. (2012). En particulier Séralini et al. (2012) tirent des conclusions sur l'incidence de tumeurs pour 10 rats par traitement et par sex, ce qui est un nombre insuffisant d'animaux pour distinguer des effets d'un traitement spécifique et l'occurence par hasard de tumeurs chez les rats. Considérant que l'étude rapportée par la publication de Séralini et al. (2012) était inappropriée dans sa conception, son analyse et sa publication, l'EFSA juge qu'elle est de qualité scientifique insuffisante pour fonder des conclusions en terme de sécurité.
L'EFSA conclu donc que l'étude de Séralini et al. rapportée dans leur publication de 2012 ne peut pas conduire à une réévaluation du glyphosate, ni nécessiter une réouverture d'une évaluation de la sécurité du maïs NK603. L'EFSA invite les auteurs de la publication de Séralini et al. (2012) à fournir à l'EFSA des informations plus précise sur leur étude.




Voici le texte complet :


EFSA Journal 2012;10(10):2910
STATEMENT OF EFSA
Review of the Séralini et al. (2012) publication on a 2-year rodent feeding
study with glyphosate formulations and GM maize NK603 as published
online on 19 September 2012 in Food and Chemical Toxicology 1
European Food Safety Authority2, 3
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
ABSTRACT
On 19 September 2012, Séralini et al. published online in the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology a
publication describing a 2-year feeding study in rats investigating the health effects of genetically modified
®
®
(GM) maize NK603 with and without Roundup WeatherMAX and Roundup GT Plus alone (both are
glyphosate-containing plant protection products). EFSA was requested by the European Commission to review
this publication and to identify whether clarifications are needed from the authors. EFSA notes that the Séralini
et al. (2012) study has unclear objectives and is inadequately reported in the publication, with many key details
of the design, conduct and analysis being omitted. Without such details it is impossible to give weight to the
results. Conclusions cannot be drawn on the difference in tumour incidence between the treatment groups on the
basis of the design, the analysis and the results as reported in the Séralini et al. (2012) publication. In particular,
Séralini et al. (2012) draw conclusions on the incidence of tumours based on 10 rats per treatment per sex which
is an insufficient number of animals to distinguish between specific treatment effects and chance occurrences of
tumours in rats. Considering that the study as reported in the Séralini et al. (2012) publication is of inadequate
design, analysis and reporting, EFSA finds that it is of insufficient scientific quality for safety assessment.
Therefore EFSA, concludes that the Séralini et al. study as reported in the 2012 publication does not impact the
ongoing re-evaluation of glyphosate, and does not see a need to reopen the existing safety evaluation of maize
NK603 and its related stacks. EFSA will give the authors of the Séralini et al. (2012) publication the opportunity
to provide further information on their study to EFSA.
© European Food Safety Authority, 2012
Key words
Maize NK603, Roundup, glyphosate, experimental design, rat/rodent feeding study, toxicity, carcinogenicity
1
2
3
On request from European Commission Question No EFSA-Q-2012-00841, approved on 3 October 2012.
Correspondence: sas@efsa.europa.eu
Acknowledgement: EFSA wishes to thank the following EFSA staff: Saghir Bashir, Per Bergman, Danièle Court Marques,
Claudia Paoletti, Manuela Tiramani, Didier Verloo and Elisabeth Waigmann for the support provided to this scientific
output. EFSA also thanks the peer reviewers of this statement Andrew Chesson (member of the GMO Panel) and Alberto
Mantovani (member of the PPR panel).
Suggested citation: European Food Safety Authority; Review of the Séralini et al. (2012) publication on a 2-year rodent
feeding study with glyphosate formulations and GM maize NK603 as published online on 19 September 2012 in Food and
Chemical Toxicology. EFSA Journal 2012; 10(10):2910. [9 pp.] doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2012.2910. Available online:
www.efsa.europa.eu/efsajournal
© European Food Safety Authority, 2012
Review of the Séralini et al. (2012) publication
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract .................................................................................................................................................... 1
Table of contents ...................................................................................................................................... 2
Background as provided by the European Commission........................................................................... 3
Terms of reference as provided by the European Commission ................................................................ 3
EFSA’s approach to address the terms of reference ................................................................................. 3
1. Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 4
2. Overview of the study as reported in the Séralini et al. (2012) ....................................................... 4
3. Review of the Séralini et al.(2012) publication ............................................................................... 5
3.1.
Study objectives ...................................................................................................................... 5
3.2.
Study Design ........................................................................................................................... 5
3.3.
Feed and Treatment Formulation ............................................................................................ 6
3.4.
Statistical Methods .................................................................................................................. 7
3.5.
Endpoint Reporting ................................................................................................................. 7
Conclusions .............................................................................................................................................. 8
Next steps ................................................................................................................................................. 8
References ................................................................................................................................................ 8
EFSA Journal 2012;10(10):2910
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Review of the Séralini et al. (2012) publication
BACKGROUND AS PROVIDED BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
On 19 September 2012, an article4 was published online in the scientific journal Food and Chemical
Toxicology that described a 2-year rat feeding study investigating the health effects of genetically
modified (GM) maize NK603 sprayed during growth with or without a Roundup® (glyphosate-
containing plant protection product) and of Roundup® alone. The authors of the study conclude that
low levels of glyphosate herbicide formulations, at concentrations well below officially set safe limits,
induce severe hormone-dependent mammary, hepatic and kidney disturbances in rats. Similarly, they
report disruption of biosynthetic pathways that may result from overexpression of the EPSPS
transgene in the maize NK603. The authors suggest that such disruptions may have given rise to
comparable pathologies that may be linked to abnormal or unbalanced phenolic acid metabolites or
related compounds.
TERMS OF REFERENCE AS PROVIDED BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
EFSA received a mandate from DG SANCO on 26/09/2012 requesting to address the following terms
of reference as a matter of urgency.
(A) Review the scientific publication
(B) Ask any clarification needed to the authors
(C) Advise whether the publication contains new scientific elements that could lead EFSA to
reconsider the outcome of its opinion on maize NK603 and its related stacks
(D) Take into consideration the assessment of Member States
(E) Take into consideration the assessment of the German authorities responsible for the
evaluation of glyphosate
EFSA’S APPROACH TO ADDRESS THE TERMS OF REFERENCE
EFSA decided to address the terms of reference (ToR) in phases. This first EFSA statement addresses
ToR A, B and C solely based on the study information available through the Séralini et al. (2012)
publication.
A second EFSA output will cover all the ToRs and will take into account any information received
from the authors, the assessment activities from the Member States and the assessment of the German
authorities responsible for the evaluation of glyphosate.
Following the publication of Séralini et al. (2012), EFSA set up an internal task force chaired by the
Director of Regulated Products (REPRO) and composed of staff scientists with expertise in
biostatistics, experimental design, mammalian toxicology, biotechnology, biochemistry, pesticide
safety assessments and GMO safety assessments.
The task force was mandated to draft this EFSA statement which has been peer reviewed by two
experts from EFSA’s scientific panels.
4
Gilles-Eric Séralini, Emilie Clair, Robin Mesnage, Steeve Gress, Nicolas Defarge, Manuela Malatesta, Didier Hennequin,
Joël Spiroux de Vendômois (2012) Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified
maize. Food and Chemical Toxicology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005
EFSA Journal 2012;10(10):2910
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Review of the Séralini et al. (2012) publication
1.
Introduction
The review presented in this statement is based solely on the details provided in the Séralini et al.
(2012) publication since the complete study documentation is currently not available to EFSA. The
Séralini et al. (2012) publication was reviewed taking into account good scientific practices such as
internationally accepted reporting guidelines (Kilkenny 2010) and internationally agreed study
guidelines (e.g. OECD guidelines for testing of chemicals5).
The Kilkenny et al. (2010) ARRIVE (Animals in Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments)
Guidelines for Reporting Animal Research detail how to report animal experiments covering the
following areas: abstract, background, ethical statement, study design, experimental procedures,
experimental animals, housing and husbandry, sample size, allocating animals to experimental groups,
experimental outcomes, statistical methods, baseline data, number (of animals) analysed, outcome
estimation, adverse events, interpretation/scientific implications, generalisability/translation and
funding.
2.
Overview of the study as reported in Séralini et al. (2012)
Séralini et al. (2012) report that the study followed 200 five-week old Virgin albino Sprague-Dawley
rats over a period of two years. In total there were 100 female and 100 male rats used in this study.
The rats were acclimatized for 20 days before they were randomly assigned on a weight basis into
groups of 10 animals. Two rats of the same sex were housed together in a cage with a temperature of
22 3°C and humidity of 45-65%. The rats had free access to feed and water, and litter was replaced
twice weekly. Animals were monitored twice weekly with regard to general observation and palpation
of animals, recording of clinical signs, occurrence of tumours, food and water consumption, and
individual body weights.
Forty-seven biochemical parameters (from blood and urine) were measured on 11 occasions. The first
measurement was taken before the administration of treatment (baseline) and the following
measurements were taken at months 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 and 24. Anatomopathology parameters
were collected from 36 organs. Animals were sacrificed during the study due to suffering or for ethical
reasons, otherwise pathology examination was performed at the end of the study. Histological
examination was performed on nine organs (brain, colon, heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, ovaries, spleen,
testes).
The treatments studied are three levels of glyphosate tolerant maize NK603 (GMO in the diet at 11%,
22% and 33%) treated and untreated with Roundup WeatherMAX® during its cultivation, its closest
isogenic non-GM maize (Control in the diet at 33%) and Roundup® GT Plus (glyphosate based
formulation referred as Roundup (R) in Séralini et al. (2012) at three increasing doses in drinking
water. For each sex there were 10 treatment groups, each consisting of 10 rats, as follows:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
5
Listed
at
effects_20745788
Control 33% maize
GMO 11% maize
GMO 22% maize
GMO 33% maize
GMO 11% maize +R
GMO 22% maize +R
GMO 33% maize +R
R (A) (1.1 x 10-8% of R)
R (B) (0.09% of R)
http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/environment/oecd-guidelines-for-the-testing-of-chemicals-section-4-health-
EFSA Journal 2012;10(10):2910
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Review of the Séralini et al. (2012) publication
10. R (C) (0.5% of R)
Séralini et al. (2012) report pathological effects, in particular an increased tumour incidence linked to
treatment with maize NK603 and R in both sexes.
3.
Review of the Séralini et al. (2012) publication
In this section EFSA assesses the Séralini et al. (2012) publication, and highlights open issues that are
usually addressed in a properly conducted, analysed and reported study.
3.1.
Study objectives
Assessment
The study objectives are unclear in the Séralini et al. (2012) publication.
The objectives are the questions that the study is designed to answer. These questions must be pre-
specified as the design of the study, sample size calculation, statistical analysis, study conduct and
reporting are dependent on these. Depending on the objectives of the study different weight is given to
the results in the context of a safety assessment. Without clearly stating the study objectives it is
difficult to determine whether the study design and sample size used are fit for purpose or indeed what
that purpose is.
International study guidelines are designed to meet specific objectives (e.g. OECD guidelines for
chemical testing). If a specific guideline is chosen and followed then the objectives are inherently
defined in the guideline.
Open Issues
The study objectives need to be clearly stated a priori in the study protocol.
3.2.
Study Design
Assessment
Séralini et al. (2012) did not follow the internationally accepted protocols for sub-chronic, chronic
toxicity and carcinogenicity studies (e.g. OECD 408, OECD 451, OECD 452 and OECD 453)
currently recommended in the EU for food and feed safety assessment. Given that Séralini et al.
(2012) conducted a two-year study, it is unclear why an OECD guideline suitable for a two-year
chronic toxicity or carcinogenicity study (i.e. OECD 451, OECD 452 or OECD 453) was not adhered
to.
The strain of rats chosen is known to be prone to development of tumours over their life (Dinse
(2010), Brix (2005), Kaspareit (1999)). By conducting the experiment on this strain of rats over two
years, which is approximately their life expectancy, the observed frequency of tumours is influenced
by the natural occurence of tumours typical of this strain, regardless of any treatment. This is neither
taken into account nor discussed in the Séralini et al. (2012) publication.
The study design includes only one control group which is not suitable to serve as control for all the
treatment groups. In particular, Séralini et al. (2012) claimed effects on the GMO 11%, GMO 11%
+R, GMO 22% and GMO 22% +R without appropriate controls.
Séralini et al. (2012) draw conclusions on carcinogenicity by reporting on the incidence of tumours
based on 10 rats per treatment per sex. There is a high probability that the Séralini et al. (2012)
findings in relation to the tumour incidence are due to chance, given the low number of animals and
the spontaneous occurrence of tumours in Sprague-Dawley rats. This is why relevant guidelines on
EFSA Journal 2012;10(10):2910
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Review of the Séralini et al. (2012) publication
carcinogenicity testing (i.e. OECD 451 and OECD 453) recommend using at least 50 rats per
treatment per sex. Given the limited number of animals and the chosen study design, no conclusions
on the relationship between treatment and tumour incidence can be drawn from the Séralini et al.
(2012) publication.
There is no mention of any measures taken to reduce the risk of bias such as blinding.
Open Issues
The biological relevance of the rat strain used should be justified with respect to the design
choices.
Suitable controls for all treatment groups are not present.
The sample size (power) calculation is not presented hence it is not possible to assess if the
study was sufficiently powered to meet the unclear objectives.
Measures taken to reduce the risk of bias (e.g. blinding) are not reported.
3.3.
Feed and Treatment Formulation
Assessment
The publication states that “all feed formulations consisted in balanced diets, chemically measured as
substantially equivalent except for the transgene”. However, no detailed information on either the
composition of the various diets used in the experiment or the storage conditions of the feeds over the
course of the two years is provided. The publication does not give any details regarding the possible
presence of harmful substances such as mycotoxins in the feeds used in the study.
Séralini et al. (2012) report only the application rate of the Roundup WeatherMAX® used to spray the
plants and the concentration of the Roundup® GT Plus added to the rats’ drinking water. They state
that the consumption was measured though it is not reported. Without this information it is not
possible to estimate the exposure level. Furthermore, the level of residues of glyphosate and its
metabolites on treated maize are not specified. Hence, their contribution to the reported findings
cannot be assessed. In addition, information on other chemical contaminants e.g. other pesticides
applied on the GM maize as well as on the isogenic non-GM control maize, is not provided.
Open Issues
The appropriateness and comparability of the diets cannot be assessed as critical information
about their composition is not reported.
The stability of the diets cannot be assessed as details of their storage conditions are not
provided.
It is impossible to evaluate whether or not there was any contamination of the diets, e.g. by
mycotoxins, as it is not reported.
The amount of residues of glyphosate and its metabolites in treated maize NK603 is not
reported.
The exposure to GMO, GMO +R and R cannot be evaluated since the food and water intakes
of the GM- and R-treated groups, respectively, are not clearly reported.
EFSA Journal 2012;10(10):2910
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Review of the Séralini et al. (2012) publication
Suitability of the control cannot be determined because information on the possible exposure
to other chemicals.
3.4.
Statistical Methods
Assessment
It is not reported if the statistical analyses were pre-specified in the protocol (i.e. prior to the start of
the study) or in a statistical analysis plan prior to any access to the data.
Summary statistics for all measured parameters (including biochemical and tumour related) by
treatment group and sex are not presented.
Séralini et al. (2012) have chosen an unconventional statistical methodology to analyse the
biochemical parameters instead of commonly used methods (e.g. analysis of variance). The
methodology chosen does not allow for the estimation of the (unbiased) treatment effects and their
associated variations.
Séralini et al. (2012) only present percentages and graphical summaries of the tumour incidences.
There is no modelling-based analysis (e.g. time to event analysis) to estimate the (unbiased) treatment
effects and their associated variations. For both types of analysis the issue of missing data and
multiplicity should also be addressed.
Open Issues
It is not clear if the analysis presented is consistent with any pre-planned analyses.
The reported analysis does not provide the following information needed to draw conclusions:
o o Summary statistics for all measured parameters by treatment group (and sex).
o
3.5.
A summary of drop outs and censoring (e.g. euthanised animals).
Unbiased treatment effect estimates (with confidence intervals) derived from an
appropriate statistical analyses for the chosen design and endpoint. The issues of
handling missing data and multiple testing (multiplicity) should be addressed.
Endpoint Reporting
Assessment
Far more endpoints (and measurement points thereof) than those reported in the publication were
collected by Séralini et al. (2012). It is unclear why the publication does not report the complete set of
samples collected and endpoints measured.
Clinical observations other than tumours are selectively reported: in Table 2 of Séralini et al. (2012), a
summary of the most frequent anatomical pathologies observed is presented; however a clear
presentation of all the specific lesions occurring in the different organs, for each treatment group, is
not provided.
As for the carcinogenicity assessment, attention was mainly focused on the “largest palpable growths”
with only mammary and pituitary tumours being mentioned for females and kidney and skin tumours
for males. A detailed list of all tumour types per sex per group and notation of all histopathological
lesions (including hyperplastic, pre-neoplastic and non-neoplastic) would be needed.
EFSA Journal 2012;10(10):2910
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Review of the Séralini et al. (2012) publication
Open Issues
All collected endpoints should be reported openly and transparently.
CONCLUSIONS
EFSA notes that the study, as described in the Séralini et al. (2012) publication, is inadequately
reported with many key details of the design, conduct, analysis and reporting being omitted. Without
such details it is impossible to give weight to the subsequent results.
Conclusions cannot be drawn on the difference in tumour incidence between the treatment groups on
the basis of the design, the analysis and the results as reported in the Séralini et al. (2012) publication.
In particular, Séralini et al. (2012) draw conclusions on the incidence of tumours based on 10 rats per
treatment per sex. This falls considerably short of the 50 rats per treatment per sex as recommended in
the relevant international guidelines on carcinogenicity testing (i.e. OECD 451 and OECD 453). Given
the spontaneous occurrence of tumours in Sprague-Dawley rats, the low number of rats reported in the
Séralini et al. (2012) publication is insufficient to distinguish between specific treatment effects and
chance occurrences of tumours in rats.
Considering that the study as reported in the Séralini et al. (2012) publication has unclear study
objectives and given its inadequate design, analysis and reporting, EFSA finds that it is of insufficient
scientific quality for safety assessments. Therefore EFSA, concludes that the Séralini et al. study as
reported in the 2012 publication does not impact the ongoing re-evaluation of glyphosate, and does not
see a need to reopen the existing safety evaluation of maize NK603 and its related stacks.
NEXT STEPS
To review the study in more detail, beyond what is reported in the Séralini et al. (2012) publication,
access would need to be given to the study documentation and procedures followed, including the
original study protocol, along with documentation on any planned or unplanned changes to it, the
statistical analysis plan, the statistical report/analyses and the final full study report. Therefore, the
authors will be made aware of the content of this EFSA statement and will be given the opportunity to
submit information to EFSA.
A second EFSA output will cover all the ToR and will take into account any information received
from the authors, the already ongoing assessment activities from the Member States (such as Belgium,
France, Germany6 and The Netherlands7) and the assessment of the German authorities responsible for
the evaluation of glyphosate.
REFERENCES
Brix, A. E. et al. (2005). Incidences of selected lesions in control female Harlan Sprague-Dawley rats
from two-year studies performed by the National Toxicology Program. Toxi-cologic Pathology 33
(4), 477-483.
Dinse, D. E. et al. (2010). Comparison of NTP historical control tumor incidence rates in female
Harlan Sprague Dawley and Fischer 344/N rats. Toxicologic Pathology 38 (5), 765-775.
Gilles-Eric Séralini, Emilie Clair, Robin Mesnage, Steeve Gress, Nicolas Defarge, Manuela Malatesta,
Didier Hennequin, Joël Spiroux de Vendômois (2012) Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide
6
http://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/343/veroeffentlichung-von-seralini-et-al-zu-einer-fuetterungsstudie-an-ratten-mit-
gentechnischveraendertem-mais-nk603-sowie-einer-glyphosathaltigen-formulierung.pdf
7
http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/bestanden/documenten-en-publicaties/notas/2012/10/03/advies-vwa-bij-onderzoek-naar-
gezondheidsgevolgen-ggo-mais-en-roundup/advies-vwa-bij-onderzoek-naar-gezondheidsgevolgen-ggo-mais-en-roundup.pdf
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and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicology
http://dxdoi.org/10.1016.j.fct.2012.08.00– Pre-release version dated 19th September 2012.
Kaspareit, J. and Rittinghausen, S (1999) Spontaneous neoplastic lesions in Harlan Sprague-Dawley
rats. Exp Toxic Pathol 51: 105-107.
Kilkenny C, Browne WJ, Cuthill IC, Emerson M, Altman DG (2010) Improving Bioscience Research
Reporting: The ARRIVE Guidelines for Reporting Animal Research. PLoS Biol 8(6): e1000412.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000412.
EFSA Journal 2012;10(10):2910
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