Genetically engineered maize 1507: EFSA cannot invalidate criticism

Testbiotech demands EU authorisation is stopped

2. June 2014

In a letter to the EU Commission, Testbiotech is once more asking for the market authorisation of genetically engineered maize 1507 to be stopped. The reason for this letter is a statement received from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concerning two Testbiotech reports. In its statement, EFSA fails to invalidate the crucial points raised by Testbiotech. The authority defends its own risk assessment but cannot disprove the substantial lack of relevant and sufficiently reliable data.

“After analysing the EFSA statement it is evident that the existing data are not sufficient to exclude risks for human health and the environment. On the contrary, some of the knowledge gaps are becoming even more evident”, Christoph Then says for Testbiotech. “Commissioner Tonio Borg now has to show that he is able to provide the high level of safety standards requested by EU regulations.”

Maize 1507 is genetically engineered to produce an insecticidal toxin and was made resistant to a herbicide (glufosinate). The EU Commission announced at beginning of the year that market authorisation for cultivation will be given soon. However, as stated in French media, the Commission has not yet approved market authorisation for maize 1507 because of some recent Testbiotech reports. The reports mostly concentrate on the deficiencies in risk assessment and lack of reliable data, and were sent by the EU Commission to the EFSA for review.

Last week Testbiotech got hold of the EFSA statement, which mostly tries to defend its own opinions. But as Testbiotech now shows in a short backgrounder, the EFSA statement does not invalidate the most crucial point raised by Testbiotech. It is obvious that there is still a lack of sufficiently reliable data to adequately assess the safety of maize 1507.

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