New round of action against SmartStax and the petition in the German Parliament

Several thousand e-mails have been sent to political decision makers regarding the market authorisation of the genetically engineered maize, SmartStax. Although a vote was taken by the EU Member States in Brussels yesterday, a decision was not actually reached. Several thousand supporters from Germany have already signed a petition started by a coalition of NGO’s in May to support independent risk research. Testbiotech will continue to support both the action against SmartStax and the petition in the German Parliament.

Yesterday experts from the Member States voted for the first time voted on the market authorisation of SmartStax. Since there was no definitive outcome the decision-making process will continue for several weeks. SmartStax is marketed by Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences. Created by crossing four different genetically engineered plants (MON 89034×1507×MON88017×59122), it produces six insecticidal proteins and is tolerant to two herbicides. The dossiers from the industry, however, show substantial flaws in its risk assessment. There was, for example, no investigation into the combinatorial effects between the insecticidal toxins and residues from spraying. Testbiotech will continue its ongoing activities until a final decision is made on the application for market authorisation.

The text of the petition calls for an in-depth investigation of the independence of the German authorities involved in risk assessment and risk research in genetic engineering. Further, it includes a demand for the re-organisation of funding for public research. Companies selling products derived from such risky technologies should contribute to a publicly organised fund. Decisions on the usage of such funds should be made with the active participation of non- governmental organisations, whose purpose is to protect consumers and the environment. Signing the petition online on the German Parliament website ends today, but Testbiotech will continue to collect signatures and will hand them over to the German Parliament after the elections in September 2013.

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