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Dr. Oz Catches Wrath of Scientists for “GMO Foods: Are They Dangerous to Your Health?”

Debra Ferguson
AgFax Staff October 18, 2012 12:06

Dr. Oz Catches Wrath of Scientists for “GMO Foods: Are They Dangerous to Your Health?”

Dr. Mehment Oz, a leading consumer health advocate and television celebrity, has incurred the wrath of a scientific peer review council for his continued emphasis on health risks from crops raised with biotech methods.

Academics Review is an association with global membership including academics, researchers, teachers and authors who commit to peer review for the purpose of establishing sound science.

Pointing to a specific October 12 television program titled  GMO Foods: Are They Dangerous to Your Health?, the group contends that Oz continues to rely on an activist’s information rather than real science for information about biotech crops.

Bruce Chassy, PhD Professor Emeritus of Food Science, Nutritional Sciences FSHN, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and member of Academic Review, previously had advised the producers of the Dr. Oz television series, that the information from Jeffrey Smith was from a source with “no accredited or formal education in any health, nutrition, or other related science fields.”

The Academics Review issued a letter on October 17, written by Chassy, and signed by members of the organization, requesting that Dr. Oz retract the information, and that his sponsors disavow the unsubstantiated health claims.  Below is an excerpt from the letter, including signatures.

Excerpt from The Academics Review Letter of October 17, 2012::

Dr. Mehmet Oz has repeatedly allowed Jeffrey Smith, an activist with no scientific or medical background or other relevant credentials, to appear on his program and make claims that GMOs are somehow associated with human health and safety risks.   As Dr. Oz  and his producers have been repeatedly informed:

  • The safety of biotech-derived foods has been thoroughly addressed by the international scientific community through decades of peer reviewed, published research.
  • U.S.  and international regulatory, science and health agencies including the Food & Drug Administration, European Food Safety Authority and the World Health Organization confirm these foods are safe.
  • Highly respected, independent academic, science and health organizations such as the American Medical Association, the National Academies of Science and the American Dietetics Association have all confirmed these foods are safe.
  • The health and safety claims made by Jeffrey Smith, repeatedly promoted on the Dr. Oz Show, his affiliated radio programs and websites, are without basis and refuted by extensive peer reviewed scientific and medical research.

Yet, after being clearly informed of these facts, the Dr. Oz Show aired graphic images of tumor-riddled laboratory rats and charts implying associations with the use of biotechnology crops and alleged increases in human health issues ranging from ulcerative colitis to gastrointestinal disorders.  Academic health experts, invited to appear on the program by Dr. Oz, informed the host and program producers that the graphics provided by Jeffrey Smith had no medical relevance or accuracy whatsoever and urged that they not be used.

Viewers of this and similar Dr. Oz productions with Jeffrey Smith are being presented with highly inaccurate and irresponsible health-related advice.  That Dr. Oz Show program co-producer Lisa Oz, a collaborator and narrator for Mr. Smith’s latest video which uses these same graphics and which is being used to promote a California ballot initiative about GMOs, presents a further impression of a conflict-of-interest in the program’s promotion of Smith and these baseless safety allegations so close to the November election date.

We urge Dr. Oz to make an immediate public statement disavowing these misleading health claims promoted by his show, and we urge his program promoters, sponsors and distributors (including: Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios and Sony Pictures Television Distribution) to reevaluate their continued involvement with this or any programs which promote such baseless and irresponsible health claims.


Debra Ferguson
AgFax Staff October 18, 2012 12:06