Leaving a Bad Taste; May 1999; Scientific American Magazine; by Firth; 2 Page(s)
British scientist Arpad Pusztai, who was fired last year from the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, and banned from speaking to the press for a while, told a parliamentary select committee on March 8 in London he had no regrets about his comments that led to his dismissal. Humans, he had said, were being used as guinea pigs in a vast experiment with genetically modified (GM) foods.
Pusztai's testimony to the committee followed headlines in British newspapers screaming that a scientist had been gagged and his findings suppressed to keep secret that genetically modified foods threaten health. Conspiracy theories abounded-namely, that President Bill Clinton had personally pressured Prime Minister Tony Blair to give biotechnology companies, including Monsanto, a freer rein in planting GM crops. An admission on March 1 from John Prescott, secretary of state for Environment, Transport and the Regions-that the British government has indeed received representations from its U.S. counterpart about GM crops-did not help.