Key GM foods report `is not fit to publish'

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The Independent Online
THE CONTROVERSIAL research at the centre of the row over genetically modified (GM) foods has been dismissed as substandard and unworthy of being published in any reputable scientific journal.

An independent analysis of the research report written by Dr Arpad Pusztai, which showed that rats were damaged when they were fed GM potatoes, has found serious failings with his experiments, undermining his main conclusion that the food is unsafe.

Tom Sanders, professor of nutrition at King's College London and one of Britain's most distinguished food toxicologists, has dismissed Dr Pusztai's research as "fundamentally flawed" and "unconvincing".

Professor Sanders, who was asked by The Independent to be an objective referee of the study, said none of the major scientific journals would publish the research. "In my experience as an editor and reviewer it would be rejected by the British Journal of Nutrition, Journal of Nutrition and American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," he writes in his peer review published today in The Independent.

Dr Pusztai had to retire from the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen last August after claiming his work showed rats suffer when fed GM potatoes.

Professor Martin Chrispeels, of the University of California at San Diego, a friend of Dr Pusztai, has scrutinised the research and he described the claim as "extraordinary". Dr Pusztai has also been criticised by colleagues on the project. John Gatehouse, a biologist and one of the three research co-ordinators, said he could not see how Dr Pusztai could form his conclusions based on the data he has seen.

Dr Pusztai was unavailable for comment.

Pusztai: the verdict,

Review, page 9