29 June 2011 – In an open letter sent today to the President and Members of the European Commission as well as the European Parliament and the EU Member states, 98 civil society and research organisations from across Europe warn that the Commission's draft proposals for the next Research funding framework (2014-2020) fail to address the real challenges faced by European societies and call for a research agenda geared towards the needs of society and the environment rather than those of big business.
In a new report, Testbiotech examines and publishes data from industry. The data were prepared by industry and presented to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for the risk assessment of a genetically engineered maize. The material was leaked to Testbiotech at beginning of 2011. It concerns a type of maize called SmartStax. Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences developed the plants, which are derived from crosses between several genetically engineered plants. SmartStax produces six different insecticidal toxins and is tolerant to two herbicides.
Testbiotech is warning that toxic compounds found in genetically engineered plants are increasingly burdening the food chain. Particular reasons for concern are raised about residues from herbicides and insecticides. Though it is known that the amount of residues in the plants is increasing, there are hardly any controls and risk assessment is insufficient. The report was commissioned by Ulrike Hoefken, a Green Member of the German Parliament.
Testbiotech has thus far published two reports on the risk assessment of genetically engineered crops in the EU (Then&Potthof, 2009; Then, 2010) and prepared several background papers. Here we have drawn up a short overview of the most relevant points for consultation on the environmental risk assessment of genetically engineered plants.