During the seemingly never-ending publicity war between pro- and anti-GMO forces, each side repeatedly cite the latest research in support of its' viewpoint. Both sides depend on the credibility and methodology of their researchers to make their case for or against the use of GMO's in food products, or to demand that any foods containing ingredients derived from plants or animals that have been genetically modified, be labeled as such.

The recent voter defeat of moves to label foods containing GMO ingredients in the states of California and Washington were a great disappointment to the anti-GMO forces. And now, their challenge just got harder with the announcement by Elsevier Publishing that after a lengthly investigation, they were issuing a retraction of a November 2012 article in Elsevier's Food and Chemical Toxicology covering the results of the Seralini study which suggested that rats fed genetically modified corn were more likely to develop cancer, a study often cited by anti-GMO forces. While the investigation showed no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of data, it did find "legitimate concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group (20) and the particular strain (of rat) selected." Bottom line, no definitive conclusions could be drawn from the small sample size, and the breed of rat selected is known to have a high incidence of cancer (70% in males and 87% in females.

So, while the results, while not necessarily incorrect, are inconclusive and did not warrant publication in the Elsevier journal.

The worst thing one can say about any scientific research is that it is "junk" science, while the second worst thing is to label it "sloppy" science. In this case I think the proper labeling would be "sloppy with good intentions".

As we move forward with this highly important debate, let's hope both sides deal in credibly peer reviewed research.