Greenpeace calls for immediate total ban on GMO food
Amsterdam, February 12, 1999 ----- Greenpeace today demanded an immediate
ban on genetically engineered foods after the release of a memorandum of 22
international scientists supporting an earlier study which showed that GE
foods might have severe health risks.
The 22 scientists from 16 countries, announced their support for Dr. Arpad
Pusztai of the Rowett Institute, who was dismissed by the institute last
year after announcing his concern over health risks of GE food. The 22
scientists conclude that even the data published in the Rowett Institute's
own Audit report "showed very clearly that the transgenic GNA potato had
significant effects in the immune function". They call for full publication
of Pusztai's data and his exoneration.
"There is no justification for using millions of people as guinea pigs for
a genetic experiment without even asking whether we want to participate,"
said Greenpeace genetic Engineering coordinator Benedikt Haerlin.
Dr. Pusztai from the Rowett Institute, Aberdeen, UK conducted experiments
feeding rats with genetically engineered (GE) potatoes. He was dismissed in
August last year after announcing that significant impacts on the rat's
immune system as well as on some of their vital organs had been observed.
He is still not allowed to speak about his case in the public.
"It appears unclear what caused the problems in the rats," said Haerlin.
"For all we know they might have been caused by the virus used to transfer
the alien DNA to the potatoes. This is the same virus used in Monsanto's
Roundup Ready soy that is available in markets around the world."
The Rowett Institute Audit report claimed that the data Dr Pusztai referred
to had been inconsistent and that it did not support his conclusions. Neither
this data nor the report Dr. Pusztai's wrote in response to the Institute's
Audit has ever been published.
"We don't know who ordered Dr. Pusztai's suspension and we cannot comment
on the report's scientific validity," Haerlin commented, "but we do know
that there is no need and no justification to produce and sell genetically
engineered food. Of course further research and a full investigation of
this latest scandal around GE food is needed, but no food should be on the
market until it is proven safe," said Haerlin.
Benny Haerlin, Greenpeace GE campaign coordinator: 49.171.3569109
Doug Parr Campaigner Greenpeace UK: +44.171.865 8214Mika Railo, Greenpeace
International press officer: +31.20.5249 548
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