The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is backing Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta plans to extend the cultivation of genetically engineered maize in the EU. So far, only one transgenic maize is allowed for cultivation in the EU. The companies are waiting for a decision that would allow them to sell seeds for three variants of genetically engineered maize in 2017. These maize plants all produce insecticides, and two of them are resistant to herbicides. New environmental risks are emerging with the cultivation of the transgenic plants, in particular from teosinte.
Testbiotech has raised serious allegations against the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), asserting that it is deeply entangled in conflicts of interest in its assessment of recent scientific findings. In July 2016, upon request of the EU Commission, EFSA claimed that a new scientific paper published by Norwegian scientists on the risks of genetically modified (GM) plants could not be used as a basis for drawing final conclusions, and would therefore not be relevant for risk assessment.
Testbiotech has requested that the EU Commission review its decision on the authorisation for import of genetically soybeans produced by Bayer and Monsanto. The soybeans can be sprayed with the herbicide glyphosate in combination with other herbicides, isoxaflutole and dicamba. At the end of July, the EU Commission gave the go ahead for the soybeans to be used in food and feed despite continuing concerns about health risks. Analysis carried out by Testbiotech shows that the decision made by the EU Commission breaches GMO and pesticide regulations.
In China, the US and Sweden, new methods of genetic engineering such as CRISPR are being used on forest trees. The first field trials are planned to take place in Sweden with genetically engineered poplars that show a range of genetic changes in their genome that affect flowering, growth, production of branches, leafs and roots. The goal of this type of engineering is to drastically change the phenotype and characteristics of the trees, without any specific purpose being provided.