EFSA GMO Newsletter May/ June/ July/ August 2013

In June and July, the EU Member States voted on the market authorisation of the genetically engineered maize SmartStax. According to German media, the Commission announced that market authorisation will be issued in September or October: http://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2013-08/smartstax-eu-monsanto.

The Ombudsman reaffirmed his finding on failures in EFSA management in the case of Suzy Renckens: http://www.testbiotech.org/en/node/803.

Monsanto announced that it will withdraw its applications for the cultivation of genetically engineered plants in the EU. All of the applications were close to market authorisation and were for herbicide resistant Roundup Ready soybean (Soybean 40-3-2) and Roundup Ready maize (NK603), a variety of maize expressing synthetic insecticidal proteins (MON89034) and three maize events expressing a combination of insecticidal proteins and herbicide resistance (NK603 x MON810; MON89034 x MON88017; MON88017). Monsanto had also filed an application for the cultivation of herbicide tolerant Roundup Ready sugarbeets (H7-1). Other companies such as DowAgroSciences and KWS were involved in some of these applications.: http://www.testbiotech.de/en/node/852

In July, Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, the Executive Director of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), announced that she is resigning to take up a new post as Director General for Agricultural, Agri-Food and Territorial Policies in the French Ministry of Agriculture: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/130724.htm.

EFSA announced that it would be holding a conference on Transparency in Risk Assessment on 3 October 2013 in Parma: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/events/event/131003.htm.

Testbiotech filed a comment on EFSA's Scientific Opinion on the Bayer application for the placing on the market of cotton 304_40 : http://www.testbiotech.org/node/867.

On 10 June, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain & Animal Health (SCFCAH) voted on the market authorisation of SmartStax and other GMOs. No majority was reached. http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/standing_committees/sc_modif_genet/docs/s...
There was a similar outcome when the Appeal Committee voted on 11 July http://www.testbiotech.org/en/node/844.

New Opinions
EFSA is of the opinion that in the case of Syngenta’s application for genetically engineered maize 3272 and Monsanto´s cotton 88913 (both for import and usage in food & feed) the informations provided by the companies are not sufficient to reach a final overall conclusion: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/130620.htm and http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3311.htm

EFSA gave a critical assessment of the Novartis DNA plasmid-based vaccine for salmon: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3232.htm.