Laboratory rats are frequently used for testing chemicals and genetically modified (GMO) foods, as the last step before commercialization in order to determine effects on mammalian health and predict risk in humans.

Such chemicals include pesticides (which often are endocrine disruptors or toxic to the nervous system), plasticizers, and food additives. Some are suspected of being carcinogenic, and others are gradually being banned after having poisoned people and the ecosystem.

Source: CRIIGEN Press Release

However, health agencies consider that a high proportion of laboratory animals are predisposed to developing many diseases, based on industrial data archives known as “historical control data”. According to these data, 13–71% of the animals would spontaneously or naturally present mammary tumors and 26–93% pituitary tumors, and the kidney function of these animals would frequently be deficient. This prevents the attribution of observed toxic effects to the products tested, and requires the sacrifice of a large number of animals in an attempt to observe statistically significant results in carcinogenicity tests, for example. But often, doubt persists and the product remains on the market. Do these diseases originate from genetic or environmental factors?

To investigate this question, the team of Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen, supported by CRIIGEN, analyzed the dried feed of laboratory animals using standard methods and with the help of accredited laboratories. These animal feeds, sourced from five continents, are generally considered balanced and hygienic. The study was exceptionally wide-ranging; it investigated 13 samples of commonly used laboratory rat feeds for traces of 262 pesticides, 4 heavy metals, 17 dioxins and furans, 18 PCBs and 22 GMOs. Continue reading »