September 1, Hengyang government's official investigation rejected suggestion of any GE product had been used in the experiment described in Tufts University Professor Tang's Paper in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition: β-Carotene in Golden Rice is as good as β-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children, Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96:658-664.
Reporters from the People's Daily conducted face to face interviews on September 3 and September 4 with all Chinese co-authors of the aforementioned paper. All flatly denied any involvement in the paper. As a matter of fact, second author Hu Yuming of Hunan Provincial CDC, third author Yin Shi'an of Chinese CDC and fourth author Wang Yin even denied any knowledge of this paper. Three researchers acknowledged the experiment, but said that it was for a different test with no GE products involved.
Reporters also interviewed employees at the school cafeteria. During the experiment, all children ate a peach fragrant rice produced by Jinjian Rice Co. of Hunan Province. A chef told the reporters he never saw rice with yellowish color. For the experiment, rice, cooking oil and spices were ordered by CDC from Bubugao Supermarket in Hengyang. Meat and eggs were purchased by the school from markets in Jiangkou Township.
Time has come for an immediate editorial retraction by the AJCN. Nevertheless, Tufts University has a duty to thoroughly investigate allegations of academic misconduct and violations of research ethics. In particular, Tufts University must make available the content of the consent forms allegedly signed by parents of children who were involved in the experiment, and work along with Chinese authorities to authenticate signatures on those forms.