In November 2013 Dr A. Wallace Hayes, the editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), retracted 1 2 from FCT the pioneering study of Séralini and colleagues on a genetically modified (GM) maize and its associated herbicide, Roundup. 3

The decision to retract the study was announced by the journal’s publisher Elsevier over a year after it had been peer reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. The reasons given for the retraction are unprecedented in the history of scientific publishing.

This web article describes the Séralini study’s findings and importance. It explains the context in which the study was carried out, in terms of what is known about GM food safety and what remains unknown. It asks whether the retraction is scientifically and ethically justified and analyzes its implications for the scientific community and for public health.

Contributing authors:

  • Michael Antoniou, PhD, Head, Gene Expression and Therapy Group, King’s College London School of Medicine Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, UK
  • E. Ann Clark, PhD, Associate Professor (retired), Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  • Angelika Hilbeck, PhD, Senior Scientist, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Institute of Integrative Biology IBZ, Zurich, Switzerland; Chair, European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER)
  • Carlo Leifert, PhD, Research Development Professor in Ecological Agriculture, School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Newcastle University, UK
  • Eva Novotny, PhD, University of Cambridge (retired), UK; former coordinator for biotechnology issues, Scientists for Global Responsibility
  • David R. Schubert, PhD, Professor and Laboratory Head, Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego, CA, USA
  • Brian Wynne, PhD, Professor of Science Studies at Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Lancaster University, UK, and at the ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen); Visiting Professor, Oslo University, Norway
next page "Summary"


1. Hayes AW (2013). Elsevier (2013). Elsevier announces article retraction from Journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. 28 November.

2. Hayes AW (2013). Letter to Prof GE Séralini. 19 Nov. Available at:

3. Séralini GE et al (2012). Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicology 50(11): 4221-4231. The paper is available here: