Munich/ Brussels, 6.7. 2012 On 27 June, without public communciation, the EU Commission authorised a genetically engineered soy with a combination of gene constructs. Soy MON87701 x MON89788 produces an insecticidal Bt protein and is tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate. It is the first time that a genetically engineered soy with stacked gene constructs has been authorised in the EU for usage in food and feed. Monsanto wants to market these soybeans under the brand name „Intacta“. It will be grown and harvested in Brazil and then imported to the EU.
The product is controversial because the insecticide produced in the plants is known to trigger immune reactions. Allergy to soy is one of the more common food allergies. The newly produced proteins could enhance these allergic reactions. In addition, there might be some interactions between the residues from spraying and the insecticidal proteins. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which is responsible for risk assessment, has not investigated these combinatorial risks, for example no feeding studies were conducted with the stacked soybeans to investigate health effects.
Just recently, Testbiotech published a legal dossier compiled by Professor Ludwig Kraemer, which shows that current practice of EU authorisation of genetically engineered plants is not in line with existing EU regulations because residues from spraying with herbicides are not taken into account during risk assessment. Furthermore, in each case, health risk monitoring must be imposed after market authorisation. Therefore, the authorisation as issued by Commissoner Dalli violates current EU regulations. Testbiotech will now forward a legal complaint and aims to have the legality of the authorisation reexamined.
Contact: Christoph Then, Testbiotech, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. + 4915154638040