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more on Pusztai

>From the Daily Telegraph, London    February 15, 1999		<underline>


</bold>Ben Fenton and Aisling Irwin 

Vested interests cloud search for truth Genetically modified food:
Consumers find neutral advice elusive in morass of conflicting views. 

IN THE face of an impassable morass of scientific dispute, consumers
are forced to search for impartial voices to guide them on to solid

But on genetically modified food it becomes hard to know where to

.......the 21 "top international scientists" are not all quite so
obviously independent as they might be, not least because the press
conference on Friday at which four of them lent vocal support to Arpad
Pusztai, the scientist at the centre of the quagmire, was organised by
Friends of the Earth. 

The pressure group did not advertise itself on the faxed invitation to
journalists for the press conference, but its name was legible at the
top of the faxed page and the telephone number given for further
information was the direct line to the FoE press office. 

The figure of 21 scientists from nine nationalities is made up of 20
who signed a memorandum of support for Dr Pusztai and Dr Stanley Ewen,
a consultant histopathologist at the University of Aberdeen. 

Dr Ewen knows Dr Pusztai well through working in the same relatively
small scientific community - the former Hungarian refugee moved to the
Rowett Institute in Aberdeen in 1963, the year before the doctor
qualified in the city. 

The two have published a number of papers together on lectins, the
protein described by Dr Pusztai as being potentially dangerous in his
potato-fed rats. Dr Ewen is believed to have copies of Dr Pusztai's
research. Studying the list of scientists who signed the memorandum, it
emerges that four others have also written papers with Dr Pusztai: Prof
Karol Baintner of the Pannon Agricultural University in Hungary; Prof
Ian Pryme of the University of Bergen in Norway; Dr Luis Rubio of the
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Spain; and Dr Jan
Koninkz of the University of Utrecht in Holland. 

Their co-operation shows the international nature of the subject. 

Another of the scientists, Prof Jonathan Rhodes, professor of
gastroenterology at the University of Liverpool, is the editor of a
book, Lectins, Methods and Protocols, for which Dr Pusztai contributed
two articles. 

Two of the other scientists listed are linked to the 68-year-old
scientist through the Rowett Institute. Dr Kenneth Lough is the former
Principal Scientific Officer there and Malcolm Fuller is an honorary
research fellow now based in New York and was author of a number of
papers while in Aberdeen. 

Several of the scientists seem to have been attracted to the case
because of long-standing interests in environmental activism. Prof
Brian Goodwin of the independently financed Schumacher College in Devon
offers what is believed to be the only post-graduate course in holistic
science, which includes as strong elements the study of the links
between scientific endeavour and food safety. 

He and another scientist on the list, Dr Beatrix Tappeser of the
Institute of Applied Ecology in Freiburg, Germany, both signed an
"urgent appeal to all Governments" to revoke permission for Monsanto,
one of the biggest GM companies, to produce a particular soybean, in

Dr Vyvyan Howard, a foetal and infant toxipathologist also at Liverpool
University, has been widely quoted on environmental issues for a number
of years. 

Prof Joe Cummins, emeritus professor of genetics at the University of
Western Ontario, has several articles on the Internet website of an
organisation opposing GM foods which is a branch of the mystically
based Natural Law Party, best-known in Britain for its curious practice
of "yogic flying". 

One other scientist lending his name to the campaign was Dr J
Hopplicher, whose specialist knowledge, in his capacity as a staff
member of the Federal Institute for Less Favourite and Mountainous
Areas in Vienna, Austria, is not immediately clear.....  


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