(English) Letter to Dr. Oz Show Producers by Bruce Chassy, PhD

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  1. Melanie Fritsche dice:

    A HUGE thank you for speaking up and speaking out about the practices that Dr. Oz has exhibited on his show since he was spun off by Oprah. More true scientists, dieticians/nutritionist, and medical professionals that are properly accredited need to speak up and shed light on this kind of use of a public platform to allow fake experts spit false information. I too question his medical ethics on espousing a “lifestyle choice” of being a vegetarian/vegan to his cardiac patients and audience without any other balance or alternatives mentioned. In reality I feel he has run out of true medical topics from balanced and creditable sources for episodes so he is now grasping by giving a “political” platform to people like Jeffery Smith with out balance and ethics as a quasi-journalist. Keep defending your science and fellow researchers in putting out the truth about Ag Biotechnology.

  2. Tamara Nelsen dice:

    Thank you Dr. Chassy! It will take all of us to get Dr. Oz and other “posers” off of the national stage on this and many many other issues. What Dr. Chassy didn’t know is that Dr. Oz’ show also contacted a farmer in Iowa to come on the show and talk about his experiences growing biotech crops. After a month of preparation, Dr. Oz’ producer called the farmer back to say that the show wasn’t going to need him as they “had another farmer instead”. The farmer they picked instead was the organic producer. Hello? Organic production doesn’t use biotechnology (technically) actually, they’ve used the BT technology for years, they just don’t talk about it. Wise up America! Way to go Dr. Chassy!

  3. It always sickens me when a doctor succumbs to this kind of fame…and I think that Oprah is also culpable along with all of her staff in duping people into following Dr. Oz like he is a expert in everything.
    Dr. Oz is crossing a line here where he should probably give up his license to practice medicine like Dr. Phil who does not practice as a psychologist any longer. He just should be a celebrity like Jenny McCarthy, who did so much damage proclaiming to know the possible causes of autism because she herself has an autistic son.
    It is time that Hollywood…Oprah included start to leave medicine to medicine. Dr Oz can then use the words “I am not a doctor although I “play” one on TV” to promote his bogus programming.

  4. James Fell dice:

    Thank you so much for this brilliant piece. Reminds me of when I wrote an open letter to Oprah for the LA Times: www.latimes.com/health/la-he-fitness-oprah-20101122,0,7511234.story

  5. Lisa Smartt dice:

    SO glad to read this letter! It’s written with such intelligence and common sense. Every crop is genetically modified to some degree. There is no such thing as “wild corn.” Political scare tactics and the practice of medicine should never go together.

  6. Joanne Lupton dice:

    Dr. Chassy:
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an important and excellent letter. Science needs more people like you.

  7. Christine Bruhn dice:

    Right on, Bruce! Thank you for sharing your comments which I will forward to others.

  8. Thank you for this. This is consistent with my own opinion, expressed not that long ago on my cancer research blog, that Dr. Oz is a celebrity run amok. Feel free to read more about why Dr Oz should not be dispensing his folksy brand of non-medicine. He has become, put bluntly, nothing more than a quack.


    • Len Napoli dice:

      Celebrity status and market-driven goals can easily breed falsehoods. I commend Dr. Chassy on his comments. In a similar vein, I encountered a lively discussion on CNN featuring two “economists” on the positives and negatives of governmental spending. The problem, upon researching the background of the combatants, was that one was a PhD in Economics at a Maryland University and the other a Bachelor of Arts in an unrelated discipline. Very sad.

  9. Josephine Trott, PhD dice:

    Well said Bruce. I heartily agree.

  10. Excellent letter, Bruce, and please add my name. Klaus Ammann, University of Bern

  11. […] of Dr. Oz? I hope not. Think the show tells stories honestly? Read on: Letter to Dr. Oz Show Producers by Bruce Chassy, PhD. Via […]

  12. Martina Newell-McGloughlin dice:

    As a participant on the recent GMO edition of Dr Oz I was disturbed at the lack of objectivity and the clear bias in the final format that aired. When we agreed to participate our understanding was that that participants would be provided with equal opportunity to present their position yet the final time allocation and editing was clearly designed to negate the science and present anecdotal “evidence” as equally valid to the peer-reviewed scientific data.

    It was disappointing that my refutation of many of the points made by Smith were edited out giving the appearance that his outrageous statements went unchallenged. For example I queried their ex post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy suggesting a correlation between the commercialization of biotech crops and the increase in various gastrointestinal ailments such ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Determining cause and effect after the fact is utter nonsense as you could use any random variable as the comparator for example the proliferation of cell phones towers and organic consumption also increased over the noted time period which for some unstated reason ended in 2004. It is more likely that there was an increase in reporting or diagnosis which accounted for the increase in incidence which, coincidentally, was also increasing before the approval of biotech crops. Their comment that the incident decreased when they removed the GM products is likewise without merit. They provided zero context for this assertion for example who were the subjects and what was the size of the study, what was the background of and how many were the controls – what other variables had been changed and most importantly where was the peer reviewed data supporting their conclusions? I pointed out that where we actually had peer reviewed data was from the over four hundred peer reviewed publications confirming the safety of these crops and crop products. Biotech crops are more thoroughly assessed than any in the history of plant breeding and food safety. All biotech products must go through a rigorous safety assessment both in the US and the EU. For the latter this is overseen by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Specifically these products are tested to ensure they are as safe as conventional crops, and have similar nutritional and compositional content.

    In 2000 and 2010, the European Commission released two reports that cover 25 years of research on GM crops or food on human health or the environment: “A decade of EU-funded GMO research (2001-2010)” and “EC-Sponsored research on the safety of genetically modified organisms (1985-2000).” Both concluded that the use of a more precise technology and the greater regulatory scrutiny probably make biotech crops even safer than conventional plants and foods. The more recent was a compendium of 50 research projects on the safety of GMOs over the last decade. The Commission funded research from 130 research projects involving 500 independent research groups over 25 years, concluding that “There is, as of today, no scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms.”

    In Europe, tens of millions of livestock, including chickens, pigs and cows are fed with GM soybeans mostly imported from Brazil and Argentina. With the current regulatory environment and monitoring by veterinary authorities, any health impacts related to the consumption of GM crops should have been reported if there were any safety concerns. This has not been the case for the almost two decades since biotech products were first approved by the EU. An estimated 2 trillion meals containing GM ingredients have been eaten around the world over the last 13 years without a single substantiated case of ill-health. The World Health Organization has said that: ‘No effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved’. The French Academies of Medicine, Pharmacy and Sciences have stated: “No evidence of health problems exists in the countries where GMOs have been widely eaten for several years,” an opinion endorsed by academies of science, medical councils and regulatory agencies around the world.
    The other item for which my challenge was truncated was the Seralini study. This study is without scientific merit. Contrary to what they claim, this study is not the first to have evaluated the long-term health effects of GMOs. These studies have been carried-out using rats but also other animals by scientific researchers from all parts of the world. No unexpected adverse effect has been reported. If this was the case, International, European and national food safety agencies would have taken the appropriate measures. The only outcome they do demonstrate is that old (2yrs) Sprague-Dawley rats are susceptible to developing tumors spontaneously. Dr. Bernhoft asserts that this occurs in only 15-20% in fact numerous studies indicate that this occurs in greater than 80% for female Sprague-Dawley rats which correlates well with the observations in the Seralini paper. In addition this study group is too small to demonstrate statistical significance and the statistical tools that they do apply are contrived to say the least. In this study 25% of the controls also got tumors and the test subjects were cherry picked for visual impact – there were 9X test subjects to controls across all “studies”- sheer numbers alone would suggest a higher observable incidence in the test subjects. Interestingly, they achieved identical results with glyphosate as with GM corn and there was no observable dosage response and no hypothesis was put forward as to the mechanism of action for this observation. Of course a cursory review would support the obvious interpretation that old, especially female, Sprague-Dawley rats are susceptible to developing tumors! Many long term studies have been conducted with the herbicide glyphosate and none demonstrate any evidence of carcinogenic effects. The EPSPS enzyme which confers resistance to glyphosate is present in all plants as well as in the bacteria found in human and animal gut flora. It is a readily digestible protein not known to have any adverse effect on any species. The fundamental experimental flaw clearly lies with the test strain of rat in which the incidence of tumors reported over many studies and years is the same as that reported in the Seralini paper – this study does not provide any greater evidence of statistical significance of tumor development above random occurrence for this strain of rats.
    In the past, EFSA has found Seralini’s scientific findings to be without merit. EFSA had examined a previous animal feeding study paper by Séralini et al. and found that “Following a detailed statistical review and analysis by an EFSA Task Force, EFSA’s GMO Panel has concluded that this re-analysis of the data does not raise any new safety concerns.” And that “The statistical analysis made by the authors of the paper did not take into account certain important statistical considerations. The assumptions underlying the statistical methodology employed by the authors led to misleading results (a simple standard deviation should be sufficient to determine significance). EFSA considers that the paper does not present a sound scientific justification in order to question the safety of MON 863 maize.”

    Bottom line, despite over 400 studies in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and substantial experience with humans and animals around the world consuming biotech cops for over 16 years there has not been a single substantiated case of negative outcomes or a single documented health problem. The problem here appears to be with the experimental design whether deliberately devised to attain the desired outcome remains to be seen.

    In sum, I consider that the program’s intent and staging was designed to present a one sided and scientifically unsupported view of the issues.

  13. Elizabeth Vancil dice:

    This is a wonderful and honest letter. I didn’t see the show, but I have heard about it from many friends whose opinions were changed do to the deceit of Dr. Oz. I appreciate your rebuttal and will post it on my own social media connections to get the word out. I hope all of you will do the same through your personal and professional (i.e. University) communications channels. Thank you, Elizabeth

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