The Germany-based NGO Testbiotech has today filed an official complaint with the European Ombudsman against EFSA, the EU's food safety agency. The complaint targets EFSA's decision to allow Suzy Renckens, head of EFSA's GMO Unit, to become a lobbyist for biotech giant Syngenta, without any 'cooling off' period or other restrictions. Ms Renckens move to become a leading lobbyist for one of the major biotech companies in Europe implies an obvious conflict of interest.
This week a global action is started against patents on seed, plants, farm animals and parts thereof including gene sequences and food. Over 100 organisations from all over the world are alerting the public and warning of the dangers of increasing monopoly rights on basic resources of farm and food production. Seed, plants and farm animals as well as food production chains are becoming progressively subject to monopoly rights imposed by worldwide patents. More and more patents have been filed, even including claims on conventional breeding of plants and animals.
The EU Commission is planning to adopt large parts of the European Food Authority’s (EFSA) guidelines on the risk assessment of genetically engineered plants as an official part of EU regulations. The EFSA guidelines are controversial and widely disputed in public. They have been heavily criticized from many sides. Nevertheless, in future large parts of these guidelines might become the official interpretation of EU legislation in this context. EU regulations (e.g.
Today the European Patent Office in Munich is granting a patent on a cloning technology (EP 1711599) that was used by the team working with the controversial Korean researcher Hwang Woo-Suk. In comparison to the original application, the patent as granted is substantially reduced and now only covers the medium used for growing the cells. The patent was applied for in 2004 and originally claimed methods for producing and using of human embryos for the production of embryonic stem cells.