submitted by Dr Arpad Pusztai
It is not my intention to use this forum as
the means of airing the dispute between myself and RRI. For that
reason I had previously limited my submission to the Committee
so far as it related to that matter. What is at stake here, however,
is the validity and freedom of the scientific process, as demonstrated
by the treatment to which I have been subjected. It is to correct
mis-statements made in regard to this process, that I am submitting
this further paper.
1. Precise nature of RRI experiments
It was never part of the experimental process
at RRI to involve feeding GM potatoes with the lectin PHA whether
from red kidney beans or otherwise, nor the lectin ConA. The only
lectin involved in our experiments was GNA.
2. The "ConA" muddle
There was never any misunderstanding by me as
to the non-involvement of ConA in the experiments we were conducting.
All my statements related specifically to GNA GM-potatoes. It
is evident that Professor James thought otherwise, as appears
from the Press Release of 10 August 1998 issued wholly without
reference to me (Appendix 2 in my earlier Memorandum dated 1 March
1999). This was also apparent from changes he proposed to a letter
he had requested I draft to Mr Wotherspoon of MAFF. I do not know
if the letter was sent and in what form. It is clear that he subsequently
recognised his mistake, shown by the Press Release of 12 August
1998. He represented that error, however, as one for which I was
responsible. That emphatically is not the case.
3. Other misconceptions
The 110 day GNA immune studies with
the parent and GM-potatoes were already completed and calculated
when the "World in Action" programme was recorded (24
June 1998). See pages 46 and 47 of the Audit Report (copies annexed);
The suggestion that "Dr Pusztai
and his assistants agreed that the growth impairment" had
not been found in the 110 day feeding studies; that is totally
at variance with our findings. Although the growth rate of rats
fed the parent and the GM-potatoes, was apparently the same in
a particular study, it was one in which a 20 per cent increase
in protein was deliberately provided to compensate for the growth
4. "World in Action"
The programme was recorded in the presence of
the PR to RRI some 7 weeks prior to the actual broadcast. The
approved RRI approach to GM safety issues, was one of caution.
It was proposed that I should participate in the programme because
of the direct part I had in the relevant experimentation and study.
In expressing the RRI cautionary approach, it followed that in
the programme I stated that there were concerns. When pressed
as to the concerns, I referred to the tests I had conducted, making
the point that further evidence was needed.
As to the "Frontline Scotland" programme,
I had no part in it.
5. Publication of Reports
The Audit Report was presented to the House
of Lords by Professor James on 28 October 1998 at which time my
Alternative Report was available, in which I contested many of
the conclusions. For purposes of balance, one needed to be considered
in conjunction with the other but that opportunity was not given.
6. Suspension and subsequent events
Professor James in his presentation to the House
of Lords expressly stated that there was no questionof any malpractice
on my part, making the kind observation that "we did not
expect that remotely withDr Pusztai, of such prestige and known
to be so scientifically rigorous". Nevertheless, he used
an MRC procedure to effect my suspension which is only appropriate
for use when there is malpractice. By doing so, RRI created the
impression that I had in some fashion been guilty of such an act.
That was highly damaging to my scientific reputation and put the
credibility of my work in doubt.
It had always been the understanding that I
would continue at RRI until the conclusion of my programmes, expected
in mid 2000. I had never agreed to earlier retirement.
I have no arrangement with the RRI to continue
as a consultant (none has been offered) and there are no measures
to protect my financial interests as suggested by Professor James.
All personnel and working facilities were withdrawn from me on
12 August and persisted until my forced retirement. Professor
James' letters to me of 18 and 20 August 1998 (copies annexed)*
set out in detailed form the legal and practical limitations which
he stated applied to me with emphatic warnings as to the consequences
if I failed to observe them. None of this was at all conducive
to any continuing involvement in the programmes, with which I
had been so actively connected throughout.
Since leaving RRI, I have had to manage on my
Our data are neither crude nor preliminary.
They are the intitial results of carefully designed and conducted
studies which have now been fully verified by independent statistical
analysis which justify our claims that the expression of GNA gene
in potatoes do affect the nutritional value of the potatoes and
that the organ development and immune system's responsiveness
of rat fed on diets containing these potatoes, suffer significant
8 March 1999
5 Not printed. Back