GMO news related to Belgium

28.09.2017 |

Monsanto banned from European parliament

MEPs withdraw parliamentary access after the firm shunned a hearing into allegations that it unduly influenced studies into the safety of glyphosate used in its RoundUp weedkiller

Monsanto lobbyists have been banned from entering the European parliament after the multinational refused to attend a parliamentary hearing into allegations of regulatory interference.

It is the first time MEPs have used new rules to withdraw parliamentary access for firms that ignore a summons to attend parliamentary inquiries or hearings.

Monsanto officials will now be unable to meet MEPs, attend committee meetings or use digital resources on parliament premises in Brussels or Strasbourg.

While a formal process still needs to be worked through, a spokesman for the parliament’s president Antonio Tajani said that the leaders of all major parliamentary blocks had backed the ban in a vote this morning.

“One has to assume it is effective immediately,” he said.

MEPs had been incensed at a Monsanto decision to shun a hearing organised by the environment and agriculture committees, with academics, regulators and campaigners, on 11 October.

The meeting is expected to hear allegations that Monsanto unduly influenced regulatory studies into the safety of glyphosate, a key ingredient in its best-selling RoundUp weedkiller.

28.09.2017 |

Products of new GM techniques must be strictly regulated as GMOs, say scientists

Risks of new GM techniques include toxic food crops and ecological harm, says a statement signed by over 60 scientists

The products of new genetic modification techniques (NGMTs) are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and should be strictly regulated as such, according to a statement released today by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER).

The statement challenges claims by proponents that these new GM techniques (often called New Plant Breeding Techniques or NPBTs) are so precise and controllable that their products are not genetically modified organisms in the usual sense and do not pose any greater risks than their non-GMO counterparts. Proponents are arguing for deregulation of the products of new GM techniques at the European level. This would mean that these products would not undergo a mandatory safety assessment and would not carry a GMO label.

However, according to the ENSSER statement, which is currently signed by over 60 international scientists, scientific evidence shows that these techniques (including CRISPR-Cas/Cpf to oligonucleotide directed mutagenesis, cisgenesis, and RNA-dependent DNA methylation) “are highly prone to off-target effects”. In the case of food crops produced with these techniques, that could lead to unexpected toxicity or allergenicity.

15.09.2017 |

EU report on weedkiller safety copied text from Monsanto study | Environment

Exclusive: EU’s food safety watchdog recommended that glyphosate was safe but pages of report were identical to application from pesticide maker

The European food safety authority (Efsa) based a recommendation that a chemical linked to cancer was safe for public use on an EU report that copied and pasted analyses from a Monsanto study, the Guardian can reveal.

Glyphosate is the core ingredient in Monsanto’s $4.75bn (£3.5bn) a year RoundUp weedkiller brand and a battle over its relicensing has split EU countries, with a final decision on its authorisation expected in early November.

12.09.2017 |

Fighting the EU's hypocrisy on GMOs

The European Parliament will vote tomorrow on whether to allow the import of a new GM soybean into the EU

There is a major contradiction and a terrible hypocrisy at the heart of the EU’s policy on GMOs. This contradiction is largely invisible from EU citizens, as it does not affect the labelling of food, and does not lead to any mowing of GM fields by protesting activists. To discover it, you‘d have to take a dive into the story of the more than 70 GM crops which are allowed to enter the EU to feed our farm animals.

A soybean... and two dangerous herbicides

Let‘s take the example of a certain variety of soybean sold by the US-based multinational Dow AgroSciences. This soybean, poetically named “DAS68416-4”, has been genetically engineered to tolerate the use of two herbicides: glufosinate-ammonium and 2,4D.

These herbicides have, as all herbicides do, a negative effect on the environment and biodiversity. This is even more the case when they are used alongside varieties that have been rendered tolerant to them. Indeed it has been shown that, in the absence of risk to their own crop, farmers use higher quantities of these products. Not to mention the possible combined effects of glufosinate and 2,4 D on the environment.

23.08.2017 |

This merger would threaten food supplies around the world. Who will stop it?

If the Bayer-Monsanto merger is approved, the concentration of agricultural control could have major consequences for farming families and communities

• Hannah Lownsbrough is executive director of consumer group SumOfUs

It’s the worst corporate merger you’ve probably never heard of, and one that could spell disaster for our global farming system. Bayer recently started the clock for the European Union to approve its $65bn takeover of Monsanto. On Tuesday, EU regulators announced that they would now launch an in-depth assessment of the merger on anti-competitive grounds – what it calls a “phase 2 investigation” – which will take several more months.

If approved, the merger would be an extremely risky consolidation of corporate power, not to mention a serious threat to food supplies and farmers around the world. It is essential that regulators properly investigate it and take decisive action before it’s too late. Campaigns that mobilise ordinary citizens to challenge the merger will be a big part of encouraging regulators to face up to these mega corporations in the coming months.

There are good reasons to be worried. The merger would eliminate direct competition between two of the biggest players in the “traited” seed market, in other words, the market in seeds that have been developed or engineered to have certain qualities that make them more profitable. There could be major consequences for seed development, herbicide markets and robust, open research and development processes.

22.08.2017 |

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer

The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission has concerns that the merger may reduce competition in areas such as pesticides, seeds and traits.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Seeds and pesticide products are essential for farmers and ultimately consumers. We need to ensure effective competition so that farmers can have access to innovative products, better quality and also purchase products at competitive prices. And at the same time maintain an environment where companies can innovate and invest in improved products.”

The proposed acquisition of Monsanto (US) by Bayer (Germany) would create the world's largest integrated pesticides and seeds company. It would combine two competitors with leading portfolios in non-selective herbicides, seeds and traits, and digital agriculture. Both companies are active in developing new products in these areas. Moreover, the transaction would take place in industries that are already globally concentrated, as illustrated by the recent mergers of Dow and Dupont and Syngenta and ChemChina, in which the Commission intervened to protect competition for the benefit of farmers and consumers.

22.08.2017 |

Bayer-Monsanto Deal Faces Deeper Scrutiny in Europe

European antitrust regulators opened an in-depth investigation on Tuesday into Bayer’s $56 billion deal for Monsanto, a transaction that would create the world’s largest integrated pesticides and seeds company.

Bayer, a German chemicals multinational, announced last year that it planned to buy Monsanto, its American agribusiness rival, but it was only this past June that it sought approval from the European authorities. The regulators had previously indicated that they would scrutinize such a deal.

“Seeds and pesticide products are essential for farmers and ultimately consumers,” Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner in charge of European competition policy, said on Tuesday in a news release. “We need to ensure effective competition so that farmers can have access to innovative products, better quality and also purchase products at competitive prices.”

In a letter to the public, Ms. Vestager said the commission had received more than 50,000 emails and more than 5,000 letters and postcards, as well as Twitter posts, expressing concerns about the transaction.

Ms. Vestager said that many of the comments expressed concern about potential negative effects of Monsanto and Bayer products, including risks to human health, food safety and consumer protection. She said the companies would be bound by “strict rules” in place to address those issues.

22.08.2017 |

EU Starts In-Depth Probe of Bayer, Monsanto Deal

BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT — The European Commission has started an in-depth investigation of Bayer's planned $66 billion takeover of U.S. seeds group Monsanto, saying it was worried about competition in various pesticide and seeds markets.

The deal would create the world's largest integrated pesticides and seeds company, the Commission said, adding this limited the number of competitors selling herbicides and seeds in Europe.

"The Commission has preliminary concerns that the proposed acquisition could reduce competition in a number of different markets resulting in higher prices, lower quality, less choice and less innovation," it said in a statement on Tuesday.

18.08.2017 |

Leading expert of EFSA – sponsored by Monsanto?

Confidential emails reveal how Monsanto secretly influences European scientists

A number of emails published by US consumer attorneys show how Monsanto is secretly influencing European scientists behind the scenes in order to have their herbicide glyphosate declared as being non-carcinogenic. It seems that payments by Monsanto can be traced to a leading expert at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA): It is likely that Jose Tarazona, head of the Pesticide Unit at EFSA, was funded by Monsanto for his participation at a conference in the US in 2017. According to available information, it can be assumed that the funding was channelled via a British toxicologist. At the conference Tarazona stated that glyphosate should not be considered to be carcinogenic.

According to the emails, 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.

20.07.2017 |

Stop Glyphosate European Citizens' Initiative (ECI)

On 3 July 2017 we submitted 1,320,517 ECI signatures to

STOP GLYPHOSATE

— now let’s get to 2 million!

We’re now 1323431-strong demanding a total ban on glyphosate in the European Union

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