The European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, is for the first time preparing for the authorisation of food derived from genetically engineered animals. After a period of consultation, today is the last day for comments on a first draft of the new EFSA Guidance that will be used to perform risk assessment on relevant products. According to this draft Guidance, EFSA plans to assess the risks of products such as milk, meat, eggs in a way very similar to that used for genetically engineered plants. Issues such as animal welfare and consumer interests are not taken into account.
On 21 September 2011, Testbiotech handed over a petition with nearly 9000 signatures to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Berlin. This led to a longer exchange of opinions with the Head of Directorate Life Sciences, Petra Steiner-Hoffmann. The ministry will now take the demands in the petition into account during further discussions. So far, no decision has been taken on specific regulations concerning Synthetic Biology, the petitioners were told.
The European Food Safety Authority EFSA has recently published new favorable opinions on two genetically engineered soy. In their dossiers EFSA for the first time confirms unintended changes in the composition of the components of genetically engineered plants. The invasive methods used in genetic engineering cause disturbances in plant metabolism in regard to content of fatty acids, amino acids (Dupont/Pioneer, soy 356043) and vitamin E (Monsanto, soy MON87701).
The non-profit organisations Testbiotech (Germany) and GeneWatch UK have submitted a formal request to the European Commission re-examine market authorisation of a genetically engineered maize produced by Monsanto sold under brand Genuity VT Triple PRO Corn (event MON89034 x MON 88017) that produces a synthetic toxin, intended to kill insect pests. This maize was approved for usage in food and feed by the EU Commission on 17th of June. It produces a combination of three different insecticidal toxins, one of which is synthesised artificially.