13 August 1998
Monsanto calls on World in Action
to eat its GM words
By FWi staff
CHEMICAL giant Monsanto has called on ITVs World in Action to issue a retraction over its investigative programme on the dangers of genetically modified foods.
The Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen admitted yesterday (Wednesday) that warnings about genetically modified (GM) food – issued by one of its scientists on the show – were improper and misleading.
Dr Arpad Pusztai, the scientist involved, has since been suspended. He claimed the immune systems of laboratory rats had been damaged after eating GM potatoes.
It has since emerged that the potatoes had been modified using genes from jackbeans, which produce a type of lectin. The scientists findings were therefore not surprising, since lectins are known to cause damage to immune systems.
A Monsanto press statement said: “We are pleased that the Rowett Institute has recognised and publicly regretted the tremendous harm caused by the misleading publicity generated by such inaccurate information presented in the name of science.”
“It is now clear that the alleged study did not involve genetically modified potatoes, but used normal potatoes mixed with a well-known highly toxic chemical. The result was therefore hardly surprising.
“World in Action declined to provide us with details of this study, which is why we declined to participate in the programme. Perhaps World in Action would also now like to review their programme with a view to issuing a retraction,” the statement said.