Professor Berry exposed - Few studies on GM food (30/6/2004)

Professor Sir Colin Berry gets his from GM Watch editor Claire Robinson: "I wonder if Professor Berry has read the study. He is the one misleading the public."

Few studies on GM food
The Guardian                                            
Wednesday June 30, 2004

Professor Colin Berry worries that "unproven claims" in Michael Meacher's article (Comment, June 26) on the risks of genetically modified food are "misleading the public" (Letters, June 28). Yet he makes the false claim that the ill effects seen in the GM-fed rats in Pusztai's experiments may have been due to "severe shortage of protein". In fact, both the GM-fed and the non-GM fed rats had identical amounts of protein in their diet. Only the GM-fed group developed problems.

Pusztai is a respected nutritional scientist whose design for this study was peer- reviewed by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and won a £1.6m grant of public money. There is no evidence that he departed from the approved study design. Indeed, I wonder if Professor Berry has read the study. He is the one misleading the public.

He writes of genetically modified foods being approved "after rigorous testing over many years". Yet a study by Professor Ian Pryme and Rolf Lembcke published in the journal Nutrition and Health found only 10 published studies on the health effects of GM food or feed, over half of which were undertaken in collaboration with the biotech industry. While these found no negative effects, several of the independent studies did.

Claire Robinson                                           
Chagford, Devon

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