ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
Date:  17 December 2000


On friday ngin posted comments by Dr Arpad Pusztai which dealt in part with the claim by the Australian biotechnologist Dr Roger Morton that there had been over 50 peer reviewed studies proving GM food safety.

Dr Pusztai analyzed Morton’s list and concluded that it in fact contained a total of just “FOUR PEER-REVIEWED animal study papers... somewhat different from the 56 claimed”.

Dr Pusztai continued, “Even when one considers the 6 not truly relevant compositional papers the grand total comes to 10. I am afraid, if Morton is a true scientist he should know that other 46 so-called papers making up the rest and the bulk of his “bibliography” would not be considered by anyone as proper peer-reviewed scientific papers.  I am afraid, Morton should have consulted Domingo’s Science paper [which Morton dismissed] more thoroughly because he [Morton],
rather interestingly, [has] not referred to some of the papers in Domingo’s bibliography. One has the suspicion that the ones which were omitted might not have been supportive of his claim, i.e. that GM foods are safe.”

Marcus Williamson of GM Food News has sent us this additional comment on Morton’s bibliography:

Every one of Morton’s “references” comes either from Monsanto/Novartis directly, or from an organisation sponsored by Monsanto/Novartis. Not a single one of them is a true test. They are all an “evaluation” or “assessment” which is not based on the whole organism, but just on the
“event” in question.

fOr example, M. Faust is from Iowa State University, which has received funding from Novartis, as can be seen here :

Now, would this university therefore want to bite the hand that feeds it? Not likely...!

More info is here :

*  *  *
All policy makers must be vigilant to the possibility of research data being manipulated by corporate bodies and of scientific colleagues being seduced by the material charms of industry. Trust is no defence against an aggressively deceptive corporate sector.”
- THE LANCET, April 2000
*  *  *
    “The universities are cheering us on, telling us to get closer to industry, encouraging us to consult with big business. The bottom line is to improve the corporate bottom line. It’s the way we move up, get strokes... We can’t help but be influenced from time to time by our desire to see certain results happen in the lab.”

    “All of these companies have a piece of me. I’m getting checks waved at me from Monsanto and American Cyanamid and Dow, and it’s hard to balance the public interest with the private interest. It’s a very difficult juggling act, and sometimes I don’t know how to juggle it all.”

        -John Benedict, former Texas AW University entomologist
*  *  *

    “There is a hidden agenda in the research support business. Those who accept your
    [industries’] support are often perceived to be less likely to give you a bad scientific press
    ... My own observation and comment is that this hidden effect is powerful, more powerful
    certainly than we care to state loudly, from the point of view of honour either in science
    or in industry. It takes a lot to bite the hand that feeds you.”

    - Professor John Reid of the University of Cape Town addressing industry representatives at the 12th annual meeting of the World Sugar Research Organisation
*  *  *
    “Another dimension to suppression operates at the level of belief systems and manifests
    itself most commonly through peer review, such as blocking of publications. This sort of
    suppression is difficult to document and indeed difficult to distinguish from the “normal”
    operation of science.”
    - Brian Martin, “Suppression of dissent in science”
*  *  *
    “These competing interests are very important. It has quite a profound influence on the
    conclusions and we deceive ourselves if we think science is wholly impartial.”

    - Editor of the British Medical Journal
*  *  *

  •     Evidence of aggressive corporate deception involving government, researchers and the media

  •     Evidence of widespread industry pressure on scientists to tailor their research findings and       advice to suit sponsors

  •     Evidence of the falsification of data to suit commercial objectives

  •     Evidence that even indirect industry-linked funding can critically distort researchers’ findings and published opinions on issues relevant to public safety

  •     Evidence of misrepresentation of research to the public and the media to suit commercial objectives


  •     Evidence of government coordination of scientists’ contributions to the media to support its pro-biotech line and rebut scientific and political criticism

  •     Evidence of pressure to suppress publication of unfavourable research evidence

  •     Evidence of heavy corporate influence over research funding, research agendas, and top-level appointments

  •     Evidence of the use of silencing agreements to gag scientists

  •     Evidence of scientists’ self-censorship and of the direct suppression of dissenting scientists

  •     Accumulating evidence of corporate bias in the science base of regulatory bodies charged with protecting the public interest

  •     Evidence that patents and other financial interests may be influencing researchers’ behaviour in ways which could place the public at risk

  •     Evidence of suppression of unfavourable research evidence into product safety

  •     Evidence that the withholding of unfavourable research evidence into product performance may have led to thousands of deaths

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