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3-Food: Dr. Pusztai vindicated (5) - Support from 20 international scientists



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TOP RESEARCHERS BACK SUSPENDED LAB WHISTLEBLOWER. GUARDIAN 12/02/1999 P7

TWENTY-TWO prominent scientists have signed a public statement in support 
of suspended food scientist Dr Arpad Pusztai, who lost his job last year 
for warning the British public of possible risks associated with the way 
bio-technology companies were introducing genetically modifed food 
without long-term feeding trials. The scientists from 13 countries state 
that their independent examination of all the published data shows that 
Dr Pusztai was right to be concerned and should never have been attacked 
or suspended. Dr Malcolm Fuller, honorary research fellow of the Rowett 
Institute, Scotland: "To my mind the most important data you have that is 
largely overlooked by the audit report relates to organ weights"

Dr Kenneth Lough, FRSE, former principal scientific officer Rowett 
Institute 1956-87: "In my view the evidence presented in the audit report 
must be considered as unsafe and is without justification for use against 
the scientific reputation of Dr Pusztai". "The institute is at risk in 
sending out signals to scientists working in (this) field of research 
that any sign of apparent default will be treated with the utmost 
severity. The awareness will of course act as a strong deterrent to those 
who wish to conduct research in this vitally important field." Professor 
Ronald Finn, University of Liverpool: "At the very least they should have 
concluded t hat there may be an immunological effect. The full data 
should now be discussed".

Professor Jonathan Rhodes, University of Liverpool: "The conclusions 
drawn [by the audit report] from the facts are biased to an extent that 
in my opinion would not be deemed acceptable if subjected to peer review 
as for a scientific journal." Professor Ian Pryme, Bergen University, 
Norway, and honorary research fellow Rowett Institute: "There are serious 
flaws in the conclusions which the auditing committee has arrived at. 
There can be little doubt that in light of the available data further 
detailed experimentation is certainly warranted in order to provide more 
thorough documentation concerning the possible detrimental effects of 
these diets."

Professor Joe Cummins, Emeritus Professor of Genetics, University of 
Western Ontario, Canada: "A great injustice appears to have been 
committed by a respected research institute. That institute continues to 
look inward to cover up its mistakes." Professor B.C. Goodwin, Schumacher 
College, Devon: "I regret also that there has been no attempt on the part 
of the Rowett ... to re-establish Dr Pusztai's high scientific 
credentials with the media after the damage done to him by the Director 
in reporting publically that Dr Pusztai was responsible for producing 
confusion and muddle about the results and implications of his research, 
a charge later withdrawn. This is the most serious damage that any 
scientist can suffer and it requires rectification."

Dr Vyvyan Howard, foetal and infant toxico-pathologist, Univeristy of 
Liverpool: "An objective review of the data from these experiments leads 
to the conclusion that the consumption of GNA-GM potatoes [modified with 
a snowdrop lectin] in rats has led to significant differences in organ 
weight and lymphocyte responsiveness. Further work should be undertaken 
to elucidate the meaning of these findings. "A major problem with the 
[audit] report is that the authors have been selective with the data they 
have included, which makes an objective appraisal of their conclusions 
impossible from solely reading the audit report. I have the impression it 
was hastily compiled and systematically biased towards brushing aside 
your experimental finding." "It is urgent that the full data from these 
experiments should be brought into the public arena and debated. Your 
findings are of considerable importance in the current debate on the 
safety and hazard assessment of genetically modified foods." Professor S 
Pierzynowski, Dept. Animal Physiology, Lund University, Sweden: "I must 
stress that there is enough strong evidence that the work of the audit 
group was not objective and per se dangerous, not only for Dr Pusztai but 
generally for free and objective science." 


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