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    Secret Monsanto GE potato study suppressed for 8 years

    A secret feeding study of Monsanto GM potatoes, conducted in 1998 by the Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and suppressed for 8 years, showed that the potatoes did considerable damage to the organs of the rats in the study. In comparison the rats in the "control groups" which were fed on normal potatoes or on a non-potato diet were healthier, and had much less organ and tissue damage. This research, fully supported by Monsanto through the provision of the GM potatoes, was conducted at approximately the same time as Arpad Pusztai's research in the Rowett Institute.

    The potatoes used in the study were Monsanto GM NewLeaf potatoes with Bt, bred to be resistant to the Colorado Beetle. They also contained an antibiotic resistance marker gene. The potatoes were deregulated in the USA in1998, without any feeding studies being required. The Russian institute that carried out some feeding studies refused to release all the information, and it took a protracted court case from Greenpeace and other environmental groups, as well as extensive media coverage to obtain sight of the research team's raw data and to reveal evidence of damage to health, a very similar situation to the feeding study results for MON863 maize in 2005.

    UK Greenpeace activists said the findings vindicated research by Dr Arpad Pusztai, whose work was criticised by the Royal Society. Discrediting of Pusztai's work also took place at the New Zealand Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

    From 17 Feb 2007

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