What does this in "this was an intelligent manner" refer to? Does it refer to what Dr Wendy Harwood said?

Context:

Professor Maurice Moloney, Institute Director and Chief Executive at Rothamsted Research, said that although the study had been published in a peer–reviewed journal, “there are anomalies throughout the paper that normally should have been corrected or resolved through the peer-review process”. Professor David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge, characterized the methods, statistics and reporting of results as “well below the standard I would expect in a rigorous study”. Dr Wendy Harwood, senior scientist at the John Innes Centre said there was nothing in the study report that contradicted “previous findings that genetic modification itself is a neutral technology, with no inherent health or environmental risks”, and while recognizing that the findings “indicate possible concerns over long-term exposure”, and that these “require further study.”

Irrespective of anyone’s views on GM-crops, or the credibility of the industry that manufactures them, this was an intelligent manner of responding to a highly alarming study. The remarks came not from a company public relations department, but from eminent and widely respected academics. Nor were the remarks extravagant or evidently biased: they were delivered in measured terms, focusing on the science as presented.


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