Genetically engineered maize ready for India? Monsanto data show huge gaps

Munich/ New Delhi 29.01.13
Testbiotech analysed data on the genetically engineered maize MON89034 x NK603 presented by the US company Monsanto to the Indian authorities. The plants, so called stacked events, are produced by crossing two genetically engineered plants. The maize produces two insecticidal toxins and is herbicide-tolerant. One of the insecticidal proteins is derived from a synthetic DNA that does not occur in nature.

The report published today shows the data from Monsanto are not consistent, suffer from several flaws and some even are completely outdated. The analysis was performed at the request of Greenpeace India.

The findings include:

  • Monsanto experts conducted nearly all of the investigations with no additional external and independent quality control of the data.
  • According to patent application filed by Monsanto, unexpected higher toxicity can be observed in the case of the synthetic toxin - but this was not mentioned in the data filed by Monsanto.
  • Combinatorial effects between the toxins and the residues from spraying were hardly investigated at all.
  • No feeding studies to examine health effects with the stacked events were performed, despite the outcome of previous feeding studies with the single plants causing broad scientific controversy.
  • No specific data are available for risks to biodiversity in India.

  • In conclusion, the data cannot be considered sufficient to make decisions on environmental releases or on human health.