European Food Safety Authority presents new report
18 February 2021 / The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published another report on the risk assessment of plants developed with new genetic engineering (New GE). The report includes plants generated using gene scissor CRISPR/Cas applications where no new additional genes are inserted (so-called SDN-1 applications). The EFSA report shows that detailed risk assessment must be carried out even if no additional genes are inserted. The report is the outcome of a consultation which included Testbiotech.
Research shows risk of invasive spread in centre of biodiversity
11 February 2021/ It is known that genetically engineered (GE) cotton is spreading within populations of wild cotton species in Mexico. Resulting offspring are often transgenic and, consequently, produce insecticides or are resistant to the herbicide, glyphosate. A recently published paper has now shown that there are disturbances in the interactions between the transgenic offspring and their environment. This finding has serious implications for the protection of wild cotton species because Mexico is one of the centres of origin for cotton.
Wide range of associated risks
3 Februar 2021 / Japan granted approval in January for the first ‘CRISPR tomatoes’ to be used in food production. There are plans to distribute the genetically engineered (GE) plants to home gardeners. The tomatoes contain a much higher concentration of a plant compound (GABA) compared to those derived from conventional breeding. This is an example of how it is possible to bring about major changes in the composition of food plants without inserting additional genes. The cultivation and consumption of the tomatoes are, however, associated with a wide range of risks.
The EU Commission has approved eight applications for the import of genetically engineered plants. The approvals were issued for maize and soybeans which produce insecticidal toxins and are engineered to be resistant to herbicides such as glyphosate; the approvals include five new variants of GE plants and three renewals. The harvest of these plants is now allowed for import and usage in food and feed. By the end of last year, the EU Parliament had already passed several resolutions demanding that these imports could not be not allowed.