Testbiotech has issued warnings on the risks posed by synthetic biology to the environment and has launched an international appeal demanding strict legal regulations. The awareness of technical developments which allow the creation of artificial life forms have led to this call for higher standards to protect human health and the environment. The release of synthetic organisms into the environment must be prevented, and companies dealing in this kind of technology must be subjected to permanent and effective monitoring.
Material from cloned animals and their offspring is likely to be on the European market already. There is currently no legal regulation which would effectively exclude these imports. No public register is available to provide transparency if cloned animals, their offspring or breeding material is imported into the EU.
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.