Tomorrow on the 27 September, the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich will hold a public hearing on an opposition filed by Testbiotech against the Max Planck Society patent EP2328918. This patent claims genetically engineered animals as “inventions”, including non-human primates such as baboons. The animals are meant to be genetically engineered to show symptoms of the Parkinson’s disease.
Testbiotech is today publishing a new report on the risks of new methods of genetic engineering (gene editing), which make use of tools such as the DNA scissor CRISPR-Cas. Testbiotech reports that the risks are far from being sufficiently recognised and understood. However, many stakeholders are presenting the technology as being so safe that relevant organisms can be released and marketed without needing to undergo risk assessment or comply with labelling requirements. Testbiotech strongly warns about the uncontrolled introduction of gene-edited organisms.
Plants are resistant to a cocktail of herbicides known to be harmful to human health
15 September 2017 / In a vote taken yesterday by EU member states, no qualified majority was reached to stop the authorisation of new genetically engineered soybeans produced by Bayer and Dow AgroSciences. These companies want the EU to approve two new genetically engineered soybeans for import and usage in food and feed. Both these new soybean plants have been engineered to be resistant to three herbicides known to leave residues in the harvest. According to the data available, consumption of the soybeans is likely to pose health risks.
Testbiotech has examined documents from applications submitted by Bayer and Dow AgroSciences for the approval of genetically engineered soybeans and found that important areas of risk assessment were not taken into account. In its field trials, Bayer only used about one kilo of glyphosate per hectare. In everyday agricultural practice, up to four or even eight kilograms per hectare are recommended. Moreover, plants produced by Dow AgroSciences were made resistant to more groups of herbicide substances than mentioned in the EFSA risk assessment.