New publication reveals close and ongoing collaboration between experts of EFSA and the biotech industry
24 April 2018 / A new publication discusses the risks of the uncontrolled spread of transgenes from genetically engineered maize grown in Spain. The paper is the result of close and ongoing collaboration between experts of EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and the biotech industry: The main author, Yann Devos works for EFSA; one of the co-authors, Alan Raybould, works for Syngenta, which wants to sell its genetically engineered seeds for cultivation in Spain. Other EFSA experts were also involved in preparing the paper, including Elisabeth Waigmann, head of the GMO department at EFSA.
But the debate continues on how to assess health risks associated with GMOs
17 April 2018 / An EU-funded research project known as G-TwYST conducted a two-year feeding trial with rats using genetically engineered maize resistant to glyphosate (NK603). According to the results which are not yet finally published, the diet fed to the rats did not trigger any clear signs of health effects. The study followed internationally agreed standards. However, it is not fully comparable with a previous rat feeding study using the same maize line: the G-TwYST study used a different rat strain and was designed differently to the original study.
Research from China has revealed a new dimension in environmental risk posed by genetically engineered plants: additionally inserted genes can enhance the potential for uncontrolled spread into the environment. There is now evidence to show that this is the case for glyphosate resistant plants. Where there is gene flow from the plants into the natural populations, the offspring will have increased fitness and can spread their transgenic DNA more effectively than assumed.
Is genetically engineered maize healthier than conventionally bred maize?
21 March 2018 / Many experts claim there is “consensus” that genetically engineered plants are safe. At the same time, most of the publications on the risks of genetically engineered organisms are prepared for the biotech industry, or authored by experts who lack a certain critical distance to these companies. This is a major problem since any influence of companies with vested interests in the marketing of genetically engineered plants should be avoided when it comes to risk research of the relevant products.