Pusztai was wrong say experts
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- Subject: Pusztai was wrong say experts
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- Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 13:17:28 +0100
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Tuesday May 18, 12:00 PM
GM food critic was wrong say experts
This is London - Evening Standard
Research by Dr Arpad Pusztai which triggered a furore over the safety of
genetically modified food was "flawed in many aspects of design,
execution and analysis", a panel of leading scientists said today.
Six experts in toxicity and nutrition appointed by the Royal Society to
review Dr Pusztai's findings said: "No conclusions should be drawn" from
Dr Pusztai was sacked by the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen last
year after claiming in a television interview that rats fed genetically
modified potato suffered stunted growth, damaged organs and impaired
The Royal Society Working Group - chaired by Professor Noreen Murray
from the University of Edinburgh - said in a summary of their report:
"We found no convincing evidence of adverse affects from GM potatoes.
"Where the data seemed to show slight differences between rats fed
predominantly on GM and on non GM potatoes, the difference were
uninterpretable because of the technical limitations of the experiment
and the incorrect use of statistical tests."
The experts recommended that all future studies on testing GM foods
safety should be peer reviewed and published.
Tuesday May 18, 10:40 AM
Work of GM food scientist is flawed, say experts
By Steve Connor and Charles Arthur
THE government's senior advisers on the safety of genetically modified
food have dismissed as irrelevant and inconclusive the work of Arpad
Pusztai, the scientist who caused a furore with his studies on GM
The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) found Dr
Pusztai's work is seriously flawed and could not be used to justify his
comments in a television interview last year that the public are
unwitting guinea pigs in a mass GM experiment.
A separate investigation by a panel of Britain's leading experts
appointed by the Royal Society, which is due to be published today, is
also expected to cast serious doubt over the claims made by Dr Pusztai
and his supporters.
Professor Janet Bainbridge, who chairs the ACNFP, said that an inquiry
into Dr Pusztai's experiments - in which he fed GM potatoes to rats -
had failed to find any meaningful conclusions due to "serious doubts"
over the way the study was designed.
She said last night: "We have concluded that the results from Dr
Pusztai's work have been severely distorted by the recent media campaign
in an unwarranted attempt to cast doubt on the safety of GM foods in
"The ACNFP is clear that these potatoes would never be approved for food
use. Furthermore, if a company submitted data from such poorly designed
studies to support an application, we would have no hesitation in
However, concern about GM food safety was expressed by the British
Medical Association, which has called for a moratorium on the commercial
planting of GM crops "until there is a scientific consensus on safety".
In a report that was due to be published later this week but was
released early, the BMA suggested that it is not yet known whether there
are any serious risks to the environment or human health.
Sir William Asscher, chairman of the BMA's board of science and
education, said: "Once the GM genie is out of the bottle, the impact on
the environment is likely to be irreversible."
The health implications of GM food are currently being reassessed by the
government's Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientist.