European Food Safety Authority in favour of releasing genetically engineered oilseed rape into the environment
7 September 2015 / As analysis of Testbiotech shows, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is ignoring new findings on the persistence and invasiveness of oilseed rape. EFSA is just “cherry-picking” from scientific publications to defend its own opinion. A technical dossier recently prepared by Testbiotech provided new information to the EU Commission about a recent long-term study publication on feral oilseed rape populations in Scotland.
The EU Commission is refusing to let independent experts have access to the report prepared by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) on the risk assessment of glyphosate. In a letter to Testbiotech dated 10 August 2015, the Commission says that the documents made available to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) by the German government “are protected in their entirety” as confidential. The EU Commission can see “no overriding public interest” that would justify access.
After protests by a broad coalition of NGOs against plans to release genetically engineered olive flies in Spain, the UK company Oxitec now has withdrawn its application. As reported by Spanish media, Oxitec was informed by regional authorities that the experiments will not be allowed. After 2013, this is the second time that the company has failed to get approval for its application in Spain. Once released, the genetically engineered flies might spread throughout the Mediterranean region and all the locations where native populations of olive flies occur.
The UK company Oxitec is planning to release genetically engineered olive flies into the environment in Spain (Catalonia). The insects are genetically manipulated in such a way that female descendants will die as larvae feeding inside the olives, while the next generations of male flies will survive. Oxitec plans to release up to 5000 of these flies per week in Spain, near the town of Tarragona. The field trial expected to last for one year will cover a netted area of 1000m2. However, if the flies escape they can spread without any control.