09 March 1999
Scientist defends GM potato study

ARPAD PUSZTAI, the scientist who ignited the furore over genetically modified (GM) food, has no regrets and would do the same again, he told MPs yesterday.

Dr Pusztai told the Commons select committee on science and technology he was concerned about the lack of testing with which GM crops have been introduced.

Dr Pusztai was troubled by preliminary data which showed that GM potatoes affected the stomach wall in rats and lowered the rodents immune system.

He was sacked from the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen last August after claiming that the public were being used as guinea pigs for GM food.

The issue resurfaced last month when a group of 20 scientists from around the world came out in support of Dr Pusztai.

Other experts have since dismissed Dr Pustais work as “bad science” and unworthy of being published in a scientific journal.

The committee also questioned Professor Philip James, the director of the Rowett Institute, who initially supported Dr Pustzai but then suspended him.

Prof James said he had withdrawn the scientist from what he described as a “media circus”.

Dr Pusztai told the committee that he had no regrets: “In one sense, what I achieved is that we are all sitting here and talking about it.”