Russia Reacts to Study, Halts Imports of Monsanto Corn; Government Agency Cites French Research Showing Problems with NK603; BUSINESS

Article excerpt

A Russian government watchdog agency has called for the suspension of a Monsanto-developed corn after a controversial French study, published last week, said lab rats that ingested the corn developed tumors and died prematurely.

The agency, which is known as Rospotrebnadzor, said that government scientists have been asked to scrutinize the study. In the meantime, imports of the corn, known as NK603, will be banned.

Last week French authorities also called on regulators to further investigate the study, which was performed by researchers at the University of Caen.

The European Food Safety Authority said it also will review the research.

In an email response, Tom Helscher, a spokesman for Monsanto, wrote Tuesday: "We do not believe the recent French research findings present information that justifies any change in the safety determination for NK603 or its approval status for imports. The safety of NK603 is well established as reflected in the respective safety assessments by regulatory authorities around the world."

The study, released last Wednesday, analyzed 200 rats over a two- year period. Some groups were given the genetically modified corn, some were given the corn treated with Monsanto's herbicide, Roundup, and some were given Roundup in their water.

The study found that the rats in these groups developed organ damage and tumors, and died faster, than those not treated with the corn or herbicide. …