Was the Court of Appeals misled on GMO issue?

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Atty. Dodo Dulay

Atty. Dodo Dulay

Whoever fed our Court of Appeals (CA) with that phony anti-biotechnology “research”—which the appellate court used extensively in its recent ruling against the Filipino science community— should be held accountable.

Several quarters are fuming mad over an apparent ploy to mislead our own CA into using an article published in the prestigious international science publication “Food and Chemical Toxicology” (FCT) so that it would put a stop to the field trials for the pesticide-free eggplant variety called “Bt Talong.”

The powerful European lobby group Greenpeace had gone to our courts as part of its long-running propaganda war against our scientists who have been developing pesticide-free crop varieties that have built-in resistance to pests.

Part of their legal tactic was to have the CA stop the field trials for Bt Talong. Greenpeace got what it wanted from the appellate court. But the way it looks, the CA may be paying a steep price for siding with this powerful European group.


It appears that our appellate court relied heavily on the discredited research of a French anti-biotechnology campaigner Gilles-Eric Seralini, reportedly even citing portions of his article, to justify its decision halting Bt Talong field trials.

Seralini’s study—which was widely criticized by the global scientific community—claims that some laboratory mice used in his experiment developed tumors after being fed with a corn variety developed through biotechnology.

Maybe, the CA felt that Seralini’s work could provide the scientific basis for their finding that biotechnology crops “have not been proven safe,” just as anti-GMO lobbyists allege.

Published Seralini study retracted
Unfortunately, just several weeks after the CA released that Seralini-inspired decision, Elsevier —the publisher of FCT —issued an international media statement retracting its publication of Seralini’s article.

According to the retraction statement, Elsevier found that “ultimately, the results presented [by Seralini]. . . are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold for publication of Food and Chemical Toxicology.”

FCT’s publisher also said that “very shortly after the publication of [Seralini’s] article, the journal received Letters to the Editor expressing concerns about the validity of the findings it described.” The publisher also disclosed that there were letters that even alleged fraud on the part of Seralini.

It seems the publication of this pseudo-research study created such a huge scandal in the international scientific community that Elsevier made the rare move of asking Seralini to surrender the raw data on which he based his alarming conclusions.

In the end, the FCT confessed that “a more in-depth look at the raw data revealed that no definitive conclusions can be reached” from Selarini’s experiment.

The FCT’s retraction confirms the view of many eminent scientists that the very methodology of Seralini’s study was faulty and that the laboratory rats used by this French anti-biotechnology advocate were prone to tumors anyway.

We surmise that Elsevier had gone out of its way to retract the publication of the Seralini article in order to repair its tarnished reputation. FCT knew it had published a “lemon” and its credibility among scientists was put on the line.

What’s quite distressing is that our appellate court’s stature may have also been dented because of the Seralini brouhaha. And we suspect that there may have been malice on the part of the parties who fed the CA with this material.

Flawed Seralini study
Here’s why: The Seralini controversy had been running for several months before the CA came out with its decision. In fact, Seralini’s study already came under fire for having serious flaws and the word was out that his published study would be retracted.

So, why did those characters still feed the CA with this material?

Perhaps they realized that the CA was clueless about the little-known fact that Greenpeace had been funding Seralini’s study.

And therein lies the problem with the propaganda strategy of anti-biotechnology groups—it is anchored solely on the fear factor.

Seemingly obsessed with scaring the world with doomsday scenarios, these groups are more than willing to use so-called “research studies” that are biased and inconclusive and maybe, even untrue.

It now appears the war being waged by these rich and powerful foreign lobby groups against our country’s food security strategy has turned more vicious. These groups operating with hundreds of millions in PR funds are apparently using their huge coffers to mislead rather than educate the public —and our courts.

We, of course, share the anger expressed by some quarters over the embarrassment that this development may have caused the CA. We also share the view that the appellate court should not be faulted for this misstep. The blame rests solely on those who introduced the tainted Seralini material to our honorable justices.

It’s about time well-funded scaremongers are taught a lesson for using revered institutions like the CA to wage war on our own Filipino scientists.

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2 Comments

  1. Claro Apolinar on

    Nature creates genetically modified organisms (GMOs) every day. Whether an artifically created GMO that will solve some of the world’s food problems will eventually cause cancers and other diseases in those who eat them should be the subject of honest, thorough and correctly-controlled tests.
    The use of inaccurate and fraudulent research data, as Greenpeace has done, must be severely punished.
    But firms like Monsanto must be zealously monitored and watched.
    Congratulations, Mr. Dulay, for boldly exposing this instance of Greenpeace’s dishonesty. But let’s not generalize against the pro-nature,pro-human and pro-environment of thousands of volunteers to achieve the good AVOWED aims of Greenpeace.

    Claro Apolinar

    Claro Apolinar

  2. Bonifacio Bangayan Claudio on

    OK, so the CA was misled as you said… But the damage has been done… The Filipino scientists have lost face… Who will stand up for them? For recipient masses in dire need of cheaper healthy quality food? … just asking… Yahoooo !!!