There is an urgent need to adopt a more comprehensive system for environmental risk assessment of genetically engineered plants. The system has to be based on reliable mandatory and empirical investigations that explore the technical qualities and risks of genetically engineered plants. On 29 September 2010 Testbiotech will meet the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other stakeholders to discuss about new guidance notes. The following ten points have been identified as crucial for the risk assessment of genetically engineered plants by Testbiotech:
Artificial organisms are being developed to produce new kinds of biofuels with a higher efficiency, so called “synthifuels”. Testbiotech is today releasing a new report on Synthetic Biology, which draws attention to the economic interests behind synthifuels and the risk associated with synthetic Organisms.
A recent Testbiotech survey shows that DNA fragments from transgenic plants are increasingly found in animal tissue such as milk, inner organs and muscles. Most recently, in April 2010, scientists from Italy reported DNA sequences stemming from genetically engineered soy in milk from goats. These DNA fragments are presumably, entering the blood stream from the gut and then from there reaching the udder and the milk. Traces of specific DNA were also identified in kids fed with the goat’s milk.
Recent research by Swiss scientists has shown some alarming effects in genetically engineered wheat. The wheat grew normally and had better resistance to a certain fungal disease in the greenhouse, but the metabolism of the plants went out of control after being exposed to environmental conditions. The plants were severely affected by the extremely toxic fungal disease (ergot disease) and yield was lowered by up to 50 percent. Testbiotech is calling for genetically engineered plants to undergo comprehensive 'stress tests' before they are released into the environment.