For the first time, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) admits that it did not take the necessary action to stop revolving doors. EFSA states that “regrettably” the authority did not follow up the relevant information. Further, the authority acknowledges that it has strengthened internal rules in response.
Today Testbiotech is publishing a new backgrounder warning that the insecticide producing genetically engineered maize MON88017 might help pest insects become even more harmful. Researchers in a US laboratory have shown that the pest insects, known as corn rootworm, may not only become resistant to the insecticide producing maize plants, but the development of the larvae can be speeded up and fertility higher. Thus, commercial cultivation of these plants could result in helping the pest insects that are also known as the 'one billion dollar bug', to spread even quicker in the fields.
Testbiotech, supported by Corporate Observatory Europe (CEO), is today filing a new complaint with the EU Ombudsman questioning the independence of the chair of the panel of experts tasked with assessing the risk of new genetically engineered plants entering the European Union. Harry Kuiper has chaired the GMO Panel at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) since 2003 but has also maintained strong ties with International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) including taking part in a task force led by a Monsanto employee.
The European Commission has recommended that one of Europe's chief food lobbyists – who is also a former Monsanto employee – sits on the management board of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Testbiotech and Corporate Europe Observatory say that the appointment of Mella Frewen, lobby chief at FoodDrinkEurope (previously known as the CIAA) will create a conflict of interests for the food agency's management board.