Food safety advocates are welcoming the launch of what is being touted as the biggest ever global study on the safety of genetically modified food and its associated herbicide.
The 2- to 3-year, international "Factor GMO" study was formally announced Tuesday and is set to begin in 2015.
It aims to provide governments and regulators with the data needed to be able to say whether herbicide-tolerant genetically modified (GMO) corn and "realistic levels" of the herbicide Roundup and its main ingredient, glyphosate, for which the GMO corn is engineered to withstand, are safe.
Study organizers describe it as landmark, as it will have "full multi-generational, toxicology and carcinogenicity arms."
The study was initiated by the Russian NGO National Association for Genetic Safety (NAGS), though Factor GMO states that it will not have involvement in the study itself. The scientists involved with the study, according to the Factor GMO explanation, have no affiliation to either the anti-GMO movement or the biotechnology industry. Organizers say they will accept donations from anywhere for the $25 million study, though they will not accept them from the GMO industry or associated pesticide makers.
Among those cheering the study are members of the Global GMO Free Coalition (GGFC).
"For years, consumers have been exposed to Monsanto's Roundup through multiple channels, including the pollution of groundwater that results from the planting of millions of acres of Roundup-resistant corn and soy crops," stated Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association and its Mexico affiliate, Via Organica and member of the GGFC steering committee.
"Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency again ruled in favor of Monsanto when the agency approved the allowance of higher levels of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, on fruits and vegetables sold for human consumption. We fully support this unprecedented study which we believe will provide, once and for all, irrefutable scientific evidence that Roundup should be banned," Cummins stated.