Definition: The idea that consuming genetically modified organisms/foods is linked to cancer or will increase your likelihood of getting cancer or will give you cancer.
This idea first came about when a team of researchers from the University of Caen in France released results of a long-term experiment done on rats who ate genetically modified corn. The results showed that 50% of male rats and 70% of female rats died in some groups on diets containing the GM maize compared to the 30% males and 20% females that died in the control group.
Ever since this story made headlines in 2012, it has made a great impact. It reignited the GMO debate and added fuel to the fire. People who were already anti-GMO stood even firmly on their stance to ban them completely. Even the government of France was considering banning GMOs from the country. Other people who were pro-GMO claimed the experiment was a fraud.
This idea affects just about everyone, however you could say the people most affected by this are pro-GMO companies such as Monsanto, GMO farmers and countless scientists who have reached different conclusions about GMOs. An experiment with the kinds of results such as the one this French team produced would bring the GMO economy crashing down. The reputation of the past scientists who have done similar experiments with different results would be questioned, and even the farmers who produce GM crops would be hit severely from the economic backlash.
This term persists because people who fail to do further research hear that this is true from sources that they trust, such as friends on social media, or cannot distinguish from real or fake news. This particular experiment has been proven to be inconclusive from many scientists and institutes, so much so that the article publishing the experiment has been retracted. One of the main flaws in the processing of the experiment (and there were many), is that the researchers used a type of rat strain that is predisposed to getting breast tumors, especially when given unlimited amounts of food or contaminated corn. They also let the experiment go on for two years, which is very unnatural considering that that is the average rat lifespan and most rat experiments are only done for 90 days. The type of rats they used can get tumors just from aging. Needless to say, this experiment, though was not a fraud, was definitely inconclusive and did not prove anything regarding the safety of consuming GMOs, let alone whether or not they are linked to cancer.