4 October 1999
Pusztai ‘vindicated’ over GM danger

NEWS that a leading medical journal is to publish research by the scientist denounced for his warnings about genetically modified (GM) food gets major coverage in several of todays newspapers.

Dr Arpad Pusztais controversial claims that GM food could cause health problems were rubbished by the government and fellow scientists at the Royal Society last year.

Within days Dr Pusztai was suspended and forced to retire from his post at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen.

But now The Lancet is to publish Dr Pusztais research after a panel of eminent scientists scrutinised his paper on the effects on the health of rats fed GM potatoes.

“Vindicated” is how The Express describes the news in its lead story.

The Express is one of the sources through which Dr Pusztai first voiced his concerns. The paper also campaigned for a media ban on the scientist to be lifted.

The paper, which has called for a GM food ban until long-term studies take place, devotes two pages and in an editorial to the story.

It claims the Lancet publication “will send shockwaves through the scientific community – and will force the government to eat its words”.

It adds that the government and biotechnology companies are expected to extend a voluntary moratorium on GM crops for three years.

“But before they do, we think they owe Dr Pusztai an apology,” says The Express.

The Daily Mail, which has also campaigned to raise awareness about GM food, adds that the publication “could restore Dr Pusztais reputation”.

The Daily Telegraph says the study shows that rats which ate GM potatoes developed “a thickening of their stomachs”, and “the linings also became inflamed”.

The Sunday Times also reports on the governments expected decision to extend the voluntary ban on commercial planting.

“In return the government will support moves within the EU to extend approval for wide-scale commercial planting of GM crops – although the ban would prevent planting here.”