Scandal of hidden GM food research

12 February 1999

Scandal of hidden GM food research

TWENTY of the worlds leading scientists have lent their support for the publication of suppressed research which found that rats fed on genetically modified (GM) potatoes suffered a weakened immune system and damage to vital organs.

The research, by Dr Arpad Pusztai, showed the development of the kidney, thymus, spleen and gut in rats was affected by being fed genetically modified food.

The research has now been validated by subsequent research carried out by Aberdeen University Medical School.

The scientists have signed a memorandum which demands an immediate funding programme to research the effects further and determine the causes.

They claim that if it can be shown that the lectin, a naturally occurring insect resistant protein inserted into the potato, was responsible, this could implicate GM crops containing other lectins.
Dr Pusztai was removed from his job last year at the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen after a television programme in which he went public with his findings. His team has also been disbanded.

The governments nature watchdog is calling for a three-year ban on introducing some genetically modified foods, contrary to the impression given by ministers.

English Nature has written to Prime Minister Tony Blair, warning that crops genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides should not be released for use until research is completed on the long-term health risks over three years.

Environment groups and the Tories claimed the letter from Baroness Young, the chairman, undermined claims by Jack Cunningham, Cabinet Office minister, that English Nature was happy for GM crops to be used.

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