A report on seed purity and risk related aspects was yesterday/ today published by IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements). The authors are Christoph Then at Testbiotech and Matthias Stolze at the FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Switzerland). The study, Economic impacts of labelling thresholds for the adventitious presence of genetically engineered organisms in conventional and organic seed, shows that seed purity is vitally important in ensuring transparency, segregation and freedom of choice for consumers.
A recent Testbiotech report showed that the risks associated with Bt maize 1507, which is about to be authorised for cultivation in the EU, were incorrectly assessed by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). Despite the fact that this type of maize has an an extremely high concentration of insecticide in its pollen the EFSA did not request any investigations be carried out on butterflies or other prevalent insects in Europe.
German based NGO Testbiotech has filed an opposition against a patent held by the Merck Serono company at the European Patent Office in Munich, Germany. Patent EP 1794287 covers a process for the production and use of human oocytes (egg cells). This claim is considered as being in conflict with European Patent law, which excludes patents on the human body at the various stages of its development.
Large-scale cultivation of genetically engineered corn is causing the spread of a new pest in the US Corn Belt. The western bean cutworm infests the tips of the corncobs. Massive damage is being reported from those regions where the corn MON810 (sold as YieldGard by company of Monsanto) is grown on large scale.