Decision on SmartStax expected 

EU Commission meeting this week

Munich/ Brussels 4 November 2013 Several observers expect the EU Commission to make a decision at a meeting on 6 November on the market authorisation of the genetically engineered maize varieties, SmartStax and Power Core. SmartStax was developed by Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences by crossing several genetically engineered plants. It produces six insecticides and is resistant to two herbicides, glyphosate and glufosinate. This decision has been pending for several months. Meanwhile thousands of concerned European citizens have written to the Commisioner Tonio Borg asking him not to authorise SmartStax for food and feed. In a letter sent to the Commission last week Testbiotech summarised some arguments about why this variety of maize cannot be considered safe. There are a number of substantiated concerns that the genetically engineered plants will have adverse effects on health.

Some of the reasons listed by Testbiotech are:

  • There are indications the maize can trigger immune reactions;
  • there are indications that the insecticidal toxin can impact mammalian cells;
  • there are new findings showing that humans might take up DNA and other biological active substances from the food to much higher rate than assumed so far;
  • no investigations were carried out to examine interactions between the residues from spraying with herbicides and the insecticidal proteins;
  • the risk assessment does not comply with necessary scientific standards;
  • SmartStax cannot be traced and monitored effectively because there are no adequate methods to identify the maize in food and feed.

According to observers in Brussels, the Commission might also try to push forward the case for allowing the cultivation of genetically engineered plants.Industry is pushing for market authorisation of maize 1507 that is commercialised by DuPont/Pioneer and Dow AgroSciences. The maize is made resistant to herbicide glufosinate and is producing an insecticidal protein. This maize was also used for the development of SmartStax. On 6 November the EU Commission might decide whether they send GM maize from Pioneer (technical name 1507) for final vote to the Council or not.

Contact: Christoph Then, Tel 0049 151 54638040 info@testbiotech.org,