Update: Leading expert of EFSA – sponsored by Monsanto?

Speaker at the conference was a different EFSA scientist as originally announced

18 August 2017 / This morning Testbiotech reported that Jose Tarazona from the European Food Safety Authority EFSA had taken part in a conference in the USA, which according to the wording of available documents, was funded by Monsanto. According to the original conference program, he was taking part in his official role as a leading EFSA executive and disputed that the herbicide glyphosate marketed by Monsanto is carcinogenic. His presentation was, according to the original conference program, sponsored by a British scientist, Allister Vale. The scientist was acting in collaboration with Monsanto while preparing the conference. This prompted Testbiotech to ask the EFSA for further information.

But according to the updated program of the conference, it was not in fact Tarazona who was the speaker but another senior EFSA scientist, Daniele Court-Marques. The question of who funded the presentation remains highly relevant and the sponsoring still requires urgent clarification.

According to confidential emails published in the US, in March 2016, Monsanto approached a leading British toxicologist, Allister Vale. In essence, he was asked to publicly defend the authorisation of glyphosate as a herbicide. Allister Vale agreed in principle to cooperate, but did not want to receive funding from Monsanto directly. He, therefore, proposed routing the money via Society of Toxicology (SOT) conferences. This proposal was welcomed by Monsanto. Indeed, in March 2017, Allister Vale, organised an expert discussion on glyphosate at the annual conference of the SOT in the US. The event was chaired by Mr Vale. In her presentation, the expert of EFSA, took up a strong position on glyphosate stating it is not carcinogenic.

The wording of the emails show that the sponsoring by Monsanto should be kept secretly. As Daniel Goldstein, a leading expert at Monsanto wrote: „At this point, I certainly understand the need for Monsanto (and the other manufacturers) to stand back from proceedings and to participate as observers at most (if at all). Funding can perhaps come from the Glyphosat:e Consortium which is conducting the EU re-registration or via ECETOX or CEFIC, for example, and be routed via SOT or one or more academic institutions. At that point, we can be "hands off" altogether.“

Christoph Then, Tel +49 151 54638040, info@testbiotech.org