Friday, February 1, 2013

Pro-GM food scientist accused to threaten Lancet editor

Pro-GM food scientist accused to threaten Lancet editor

TITLE:  Pro-GM food scientist 'threatened editor'
SOURCE: The Guardian, UK, by Laurie Flynn & Michael Sean Gillard
DATE:   November 1, 1999

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Pro-GM food scientist 'threatened editor'

The editor of one of Britain's leading medical journals, the
Lancet, says he was threatened by a senior member of the Royal
Society, the voice of the British science establishment, that his
job would be at risk if he published controversial research
questioning the safety of genetically fied foods.

Richard Horton declined to name the man who telephoned him. But
the Guardian has identified him as Peter Lachmann, the former
vice-president and biological secretary of the Royal Society and
president of the Academy of Medical Sciences. The Guardian has
been told that an influential group within the Royal Society has
set up what appears to be a "rebuttal unit" to push a pro-biotech
line and counter opposing scientists and environmental groups.

Dr Horton said he was called at his office in central London on
the morning of Wednesday October 13, two days before the Lancet
published a research paper by Arpad Pusztai, the scientist at the
centre of the GM controversy. Dr Horton, editor of the Lancet
since 1995, said the phone call began in a "very aggressive
manner". He said he was called "immoral" and accused of
publishing Dr Pusztai's paper which he "knew to be untrue".

Towards the end of the call Dr Horton said the caller told him
that if he published the Pusztai paper it would "have
implications for his personal position" as editor. The Lancet is
owned by Reed Elsevier, one of Europe's largest scientific
publishing houses. At the end of the call Dr Horton, 37, said he
immediately informed his colleagues and named the caller.

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