GENET archive


8-Misc: OECD conference on GE crops and food (4): Pusztai on risk reserach

----------------------------- GENET-news -----------------------------

TITLE:  Scientist in GM safety row calls for more probes
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   February 29, 200

-------------------- archive: --------------------

Scientist in GM safety row calls for more probes

EDINBURGH - Scientist Arpad Pusztai, who triggered concerns about 
genetically modified food last year, said yesterday he was convinced 
more needed to be done to ensure the technology was not harmful to 
animals and humans. He called in an interview with Reuters for 
international collaboration to examine GM products.

"That conviction has been growing," said Pusztai, attending an 
international conference in Edinburgh on GM foods. "In the United 
States there are 42 genetically modified foodstuffs, so there is 
plenty to look at. We ought to do it as soon as possible." Pusztai 
said industry must also be involved in the effort but in an indirect 
way because consumers would have no confidence otherwise in the 

"There will always be suspicions that money speaks. We have to evolve 
some sort of system whereby we would be able to get money indirectly, 
for example GM and biotechnology companies could put money in a trust 
and then the trust would deal with it, rather than direct 
involvement," he said. Pusztai said scientists from the United States 
and the European Union should be involved.


Some 400 scientists, regulators and environmental and consumer 
activists are attending a three-day conference on GM food set up by 
the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The meeting followed a request from the Group of Eight (G8) 
industialised countries for more information. The OECD has said it 
hopes the meeting will provide a constructive debate about GM food 
and the way forward. The findings will be presented to the next G8 
meeting in July.

Pusztai said he stood by his original claims based on research on 
rats that GM food might directly harm human health. He found that 
rats fed potatoes modified to produce an insecticide appeared to have 
immune response and growth problems. He was criticised for voicing 
his concerns in a television documentary before his research was 
published in a peer-reviewed journal and was fired from his job at 
the Rowett Research Institute in Scotland. The research has since 
been printed in The Lancet medical journal but its validity is still 

Professor Zhangliang Chen, vice president of Beijing University in 
China, told the conference that similar research he had conducted 
using GM sweet peppers and tomatoes had no adverse impact on rats. 
Pusztai said he had not seen the Chinese research but it was 
important to continue studies into the safety of GM products.

"At least he (Chen) did try to show whether it is safe or not," he 
told Reuters. "Dr Chen did not say how he did the experiment. It is 
extremely important to know how it is done."


|                   GENET                     |
| European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering |
|                                             |
|             Hartmut MEYER (Mr)              |
|          Reinhaeuser Landstr. 51            |
|            D - 37083 Goettingen             |
|                 Germany                     |
|                                             |
| phone: +49-551-7700027                      |
| fax:   +49-551-7701672                      |
| email:                    |