Russia halts imports of GMO corn after cancer study

Scientists will review French findings that Monsanto's product causes tumors

Published September 26, 2012 12:23PM (EDT)

 (Wikimedia/Achim Raschka)
(Wikimedia/Achim Raschka)

Russia has suspended imports of Monsanto's genetically-modified corn in light of a French study which linked the crops to cancer.

Agence France-Presse reports:

Russia’s consumer-rights regulator Rospotrebnadzor asked scientists at the country’s Institute of Nutrition to review the study. The watchdog has also contacted to European Commission’s Directorate General for Health & Consumers to explain the EU’s position on GM corn.

As Salon noted last week, the study found that rats fed Monsanto's GMO corn, or exposed to its popular herbicide, developed tumors and organ damage, often dying younger than control group rats. Some experts and commentators have viewed the findings skeptically, noting that the lead researcher has long been an outspoken critic of the biotech giant. Steven Salzberg wrote at Forbes that "the study was designed to fail" and was flawed from methodology through analysis.

However, as Russia's move illustrates, the study has fueled long-held concerns over GMO crops. A spokesperson from Monsanto announced that business would not be greatly hurt by the Russian suspension, as the country imports only a small amount of grain from the U.S.. However, the multinational corporation might feel a sting if more nations follow in Russia's wake. France has announced it will uphold a ban on GMO crops, while activists and farmers in California and elsewhere in the U.S. are pushing for GMO foods to be labeled in stores and for the government to further investigate the health impact of Monsanto's products.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Food Activism Genetically Modified Food Gmo Monsanto Report Russia