Here's a couple of late additions to the great Morton - Pusztai debate [http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/pusztaidebate.htm] on AgBioView in which Arpad Pusztai demolished CSIRO biotechnologist Dr Roger Morton's claims that GM foods were well tested and that there was a considerable amount of peer-reviewed literature to show this.
Dr Pusztai totally demolished Morton's assertions but, needless to say, this has had little effect on many of the folk who post to AgBioView
This can be seen from our comment on a Trewavas article posted on AgBioView (item 1) and forwarded to the biotech-activists list by Morton under an alias. Prof Trewavas despite (or because of?) being an FRS appears to be both scientifically illiterate and insensible to self-contradiction!
The second item below, which includes a response from Pusztai, provides a classic example of how Pusztai is authoritatively abused by critics who turn out to have paid scant regard to the research - in this case the FDA's flavr-savr tomato research.
"The Pusztai affair is a sad chapter in British science. Dr Pusztai has an excellent scientific record. An expert on lectins he has published some 300 papers and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. If he had chosen to publish and not gone on TV he might well have still been in employment and investigating further. However as scientists we submit to referees criticism after submission of papers because we can be wrong"
"Finally I was surprised that Dr Pusztai did not mention Professor Chen's (Beijing University) remarkably detailed analyses of rats fed GM peppers and tomatoes and described at the OECD conference, since he was there. No effects whatsoever emerged from the page after page after page of detailed analyses."
In fact, Prof Zhangliang Chen provided absolutely no details of the protocols, design, or methodology of his experiments at Edinburgh and to date, to my knowledge, his research has not received fully peer reviewed publication anywhere -- only summaries have been published (after Edinburgh).
So what are we to conclude about the Trewavas' reference to "page after page after page of detailed analyses", or his criticism of Pusztai for publicly commenting on his research prior to publication?
For multiple examples of such hypocrisy and double standards see Professor Bullshit: http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/pb.htm
For a report on the hypocritical treatment of Pusztai at Edinburgh: http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/watchingdrpusztai.htm
2. Re - "Response to Pusztai and apology"
In Dr. Pusztai's lengthy response to Dr. Morton, he makes the following assertion" "Now there are two peer-reviewed papers, in addition to the FDA's own FLAVR SAVR tomato study, in which gut lesions have been found with GM foodstuffs in three different labs." In regards to the FLAVR SAVR studies, this statement is an eggregious distortion of fact. The treatment and control animals were both fed an exclusive diet of tomatoes, one set genetically modified, and the other set unmodified. Both groups of animals developed the same gut lesions - clearly as a direct result of overfeeding of a fruit not well tolerated by the animals. In fact, there was no difference whatsoever between the two sets of animals with regards to the lesions. If this is an example of Dr. Pusztai's "objective" reporting of fact regarding the safety of biotech modified foods, then there is little to trust in his comments.
- Elliot Entis Aqua Bounty Farms
I have a feeling after reading the above that these people at a farm (Elliot Entis Aqua Bounty Farm) either did not read properly the document about the FDA's FLAVR SAVR tomato study on the website of the Alliance for Biointegrity or may have read a different document. The second option is the kinder one! If the first is correct then they may want to re-read it. These are the problems which they need to concentrate on:
1. Neither the test nor the control groups were fed exclusive diet of tomatoes (GM or non-GM) but standard lab chow and were gavaged with tomato homogenates daily.
2. According to an expert panel (ENVIRON Corp, Arlington, VA) who scored the stomach histology sections there were 4 female rats/20 rats which developed red pinpoint focal erosion/necrosis lesions. This number went up to 7 when re-scored PATHCO, an independent pathology working group. None of the female rats gavaged with the CR3 control tomatoes were affected. Rather interestingly these findings were not true for male rats. When the study was repeated with tomatoes grown at different places and harvested at different times there were 2 female rats out 15 which were affected on CR3-623 GM tomatoes but none with the control CR3. These findings were not re-scored by PATHCO.
3. The ENVIRON panel regarded it necessary to give an explanation for these differences which according to these people, Elliot..., do not exist. These glandular lesions as put forward by ENVIRON occur spontaneously in animals stressed, given mucolytic agents, food restriction or animal restriction in cages! Needless to say that none of these conditions existed. Rather interestingly, "overfeeding of a fruit (sic) not well tolerated by the animals" an explanation very helpfully proposed by Elliot et al, was not advanced by ENVIRON. I am sure they would have been happy with this help.
4. I am sure, Elliot et al, are also familiar with the rest of the FLAVR SAVR experiment as there are many things to learn from that as how not to do an experiment. However, they may have to wait for my comments on them. Let's suffice to say that this experiment, as it is described on the FDA's pages, did not have a cat's in hell of a chance to be accepted by any decent peer-reviewed nutritional journal. Perhaps that may account for the fact that the study has never been published.
Finally, Elliot et al, may consider that personalizing arguments in this or any other debate whether one can trust Dr Pusztai's "objective" reporting is likely to be counter-productive. They may not like my message but that cannot be helped under the circumstances. Perhaps next time Elliot et al will read what had been written and not what they would have liked to be written.
If you like Jonathan you may send my comments to them. I think most people find difficult to argue with us because we read papers very carefully and our comments are also objective and to the point. It may be difficult for them to accept this but then they should not have written silly things in the first place.