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[SANET-MG] cancer in gm potatoes
The article below should not be dismissed out of hand but should lead to
fully unbiased studies on the GM potatoes. Recently, US courts described
USDA evaluations of GM crops as being arbitrary and capricious, flouting
the law. Clearly, there is need for unbiased scientific studies on the
safety of GM crops.There should be a clean sweep of the regulatory
regimes and their replacement with unbiased scientists.
17 February 2007 06:51 The Independent
Suppressed report shows cancer link to GM potatoes
By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
Published: 17 February 2007
Campaigners against genetically modified crops in Britain last are
calling for trials of GM potatoes this spring to be halted after
evidence of links with cancers in laboratory rats.
UK Greenpeace activists said the findings, obtained from Russian trials
after an eight-year court battle with the biotech industry, vindicated
research by Dr Arpad Pusztai, whose work was criticised by the Royal
Society and the Netherlands State Institute for Quality Control.
The disclosure last night of the Russian study on the GM Watch website
led to calls for David Miliband, the Secretary of State for Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs, to withdraw permission for new trials on GM
potatoes to go ahead at secret sites in the UK this spring. Alan Simpson, a
Labour MP and green campaigner, said: "These trials should be stopped.
The research backs up the work of Arpad Pusztai and it shows that
he was the victim of a smear campaign by the biotech industry. There has
been a cover-up over these findings and the Government should not
be a party to that."
Mr Simpson said the findings, which showed that lab rats developed
tumours, were released by anti-GM campaigners in Wales. Dr Pusztai and
a colleague used potatoes that had been genetically modified to produce
a protein, lectin. They found cell damage in the rats' stomachs, and in
parts of their intestines.
The research is likely to spark a fresh row about GM crops in Britain.
Graham Thompson, a Greenpeace campaigner, said: "It is important
because it backs up the research by Pusztai, which was smeared at the
time by the industry."
Brian John of GM Free Cymru, who released the findings, said the
research was conducted in 1998 by the Institute of Nutrition of the Russian
Academy of Medical Sciences and has been suppressed for eight years.
It showed that the potatoes did considerable damage to the rats' organs.
Those in the "control groups" that were fed non-GM potatoes suffered
ill-effects, but those fed GM potatoes suffered more serious organ and
The potatoes contained an antibiotic resistance marker gene. The
institute that carried out the studies refused to release all the
However, Greenpeace and other consumer groups mounted a protracted legal
battle campaign to obtain the report. In May 2004 the Nikulinski
District Court in Russia ruled that information relating to the safety
of GM food should be open to the public.
The institute, however, refused to release the report. Greenpeace and
Russian activist groups again took the institute to court, and won a ruling
that the report must be released.
Irina Ermakova, a consultant for Greenpeace, said she had conducted her
own animal feeding experiments with GM materials. "The GM
potatoes were the most dangerous of the feeds used in the trials ... and
on the basis of this evidence they cannot be used in the nourishment of
Greenpeace said the Russian trials were also badly flawed. Half of the
rats in the trial died, and results were taken from those that survived, in
breach of normal scientific practice.
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