GMO-free news from France

24.01.2019

Deceptive reporting of GMO90+ EU-funded feeding study on GM maize

GMO90+ study is falsely claimed to show the GM diets had no adverse effects and to refute the Séralini long-term study on GM maize and Roundup

An EU taxpayer-funded rat feeding study on two GM maize varieties found significant differences in the rats that ate the GM diets. These differences could indicate adverse health impacts, but the authors dismissed them as not biologically relevant, without proper scientific justification.

In fact the relevance of the changes is unknown because the study was too short to measure long-term effects, which can take one to two years to show up, and because it was confined to one generation of rats.

The GMO90+ study tested two types of GM maize, NK603 and MON810, over a 6-month period. It was published in December 2018 in the journal Toxicological Sciences under the self-explanatory title, "The GMO90+ project: lack of evidence for biologically significant effects of genetically modified maize based-diets on Wistar rats after 6-months feeding comparative trial". The authors reported no adverse health effects that could be attributed to the GM diets tested.

24.01.2019

French court bans sale of controversial weedkiller

Ruling prohibits sale of a glyphosate product to professionals, citing arguments that chemical is potentially carcinogenic.

A French court has banned the sale of Roundup Pro 360 — a weedkiller that contains the controversial ingredient glyphosate — to professional gardeners and farmers.

The ruling follows the ban enacted on 1 January in France on amateur gardeners buying herbicides that contain glyphosate.

The safety of glyphosate — a widely used herbicide — has been under mounting scrutiny since 2015, when a scientific body of the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that it is “probably carcinogenic” to humans, although other studies disagree.

02.01.2019

Experts agree: New GMOs can be detected

Dr Yves Bertheau and other experts rebut claims that genome-edited products cannot be distinguished from natural products and thus cannot be detected or regulated

GMO proponents lobbying for lax regulation of GM plants and animals produced with "new GM" techniques, including genome editing, argue that living organisms naturally contain many mutations (DNA damage), making them "natural GMOs". They add that it is often impossible to distinguish mutations induced by the new GM techniques from naturally induced mutations and that therefore GMOs produced with these techniques should not be regulated more strictly than conventionally bred varieties. Furthermore, they argue that GMOs produced with these techniques often cannot be distinguished from naturally bred organisms. They conclude that these GMOs cannot be identified or traced – and because traceability is not possible, it is simply not practical to regulate or label them.

12.12.2018

How France and Germany Are Ousting Glyphosate In A Search For Healthy Soils and Pesticide-Free Crops

The Macron Government of France is offering its farmers a way out of glyphosate dependency within the next 3 years.

Millions have been following European discussions on the possible ban (or a new licensing period) for glyphosate-based herbicides; discussions which stemmed from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declaring glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in March, 2015.

(.....)

The French solution to glyphosate

In November, 2018, the French government presented possible mechanisms for achieving such a ban. Here is my best understanding on how the French government sees a transition away from glyphosate use while protecting farmers financially.

Overall, the plan emphasizes good farming practices and encourages dialogue among farmers. The government has also declared that no one will be left without a solution if they abandon glyphosate.

26.10.2018

Former EFSA GMO Panel member says GM Bt crop toxin allergy study is solid

A former member of the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA's) GMO panel, Jean-Michel Wal, has said that a study suggesting that GM Bt crops could be allergenic has "solid scientifically grounded results", according to a report in EU Food Policy.

The study performed in mice found that the GM Bt toxin Cry1Ac is immunogenic, allergenic, and able to induce anaphylaxis (a severe allergic response that can result in suffocation).

Dr Wal was a member of the GMO panel until July. He issued two minority Opinions during his time at EFSA, arguing that risk assessments of the potential allergenicity of the new proteins expressed in stacked-trait GMOs were inadequate and based on assumptions rather than data.

24.10.2018

GMO – Are authorisations of sub-combinations legal?

In the EU, the risk assessment of GMOs is no longer systematically associated with the requirement to provide data. This is how the recent evolution in the field of GMOs could be summarised. After having described this evolution through emblematic applications for commercial authorisation, Inf’OGM focuses on this issue from a legal point of view.

Since 2013, commercial authorisations covering both a GMO with several transformation events (GMO ABC for example, called stacked GMO) and the GMOs combining the transformation events of the stacked GMO (GMOs AB, BC, and AC) have multiplied. However, Regulation 1829/2003 – on which most commercial authorisations are based – is silent on the question whether a single decision can authorise the commercialisation of several GMOs.

In 2013, the entry into force of Regulation 503/2013 put an end to this silence. The Regulation requires that “the applications for genetically modified food and feed from segregating crops [...] include all subcombinations independently of their origin and not yet authorised . This cleared the way for a preferential treatment of sub-combinations and for an exponential growth of the number of GMOs authorised in the European Union.

27.09.2018

New GMOs: the European Commission in no hurry to act

The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of July 25th does not particularly disturb the European Commission. In its view, it’s up to the Member states to implement the ruling and initiate exchanges on potential difficulties they face. A quite simple analysis but partly deficient. Explanations.

On July 2018 the 25th, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that only GMOs “obtained by means of techniques/methods of mutagenesis which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record” are excluded from the scope of directive 2001/18. The organisms obtained through the use of a new technique of genetic modification giving rise to one or several mutations must therefore be considered and regulated as GMOs. Has this ruling, which is immediately applicable, already been enforced?

Regulating new GMOs like transgenic ones

During the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed which took place on September 11th, the Member states and the European Commission discussed the ruling. Interviewed by Inf’OGM, the European Commission explained that it is “carefully analysing the ruling” and announced other talks would take place in October. But things went a bit further on September 11th. According to a EU source, the Commission told the Member states that it considers it has nothing particular to do for the moment: in the Commission’s opinion, it is now up to Member states to implement the court ruling at all levels and to be more specific on what they expect from the Commission.

02.06.2018

France will start labelling meat which was fed with genetically modified crops

Sustain member Beyond GM believes that labelling isn’t enough - we need to start producing food that people can trust.

French politicians have backed mandatory labelling for GM animal feed as part of the Food and Agriculture Bill. The bill will also make it mandatory for labels to include details of pesticide use used on fruit and vegetables.

If accepted by the Senate, the new labelling laws will start by January 2023. The on-pack information would have to include information on the conditions in which the animal were raised and whether they have had GM animal feed.

Pat Thomas, the director for Beyond GM (who are part of the Sustain alliance) believes that the UK should take note of the ruling in France:

“At the heart of the French action are the issues of provenance and authenticity of the food we eat, as well as its nutritional quality and safety. France has been very publicly struggling with these issues – and opening the doors to important conversations.

16.03.2018

GMO directive : the origins of the mutagenesis exemption

In his opinion on the « Mutagenesis » case [1], the Court of justice Advocate general considered there is no link between the mutagenesis exemption and the recital which states that the directive should not apply to organisms obtained through certain techniques of genetic modification which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record. However, the study of the preparatory work shows the mutagenesis exemption appeared at the same time as the recital in question...

The European Union GMO legislation does not apply to all organisms obtained through genetic modification. Since the first European GMO directive, genetically modified organisms obtained through mutagenesis are exempted, under certain conditions, from the obligations laid down in the directive. As a consequence, these GMOs can, under certain conditions, be cultivated without having been subject to an environmental risk assessment and they can be marketed without traceability or labelling.

15.02.2018

French Wine Study Shows Humans Can Taste Pesticides

The results of the first ever study on the ability of humans to recognize the taste of pesticides in wine have been published in the Food and Nutrition Journal.

Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini and the chef Jérôme Douzelet’s study involved 195 blind tests carried out by professionals from the wine and culinary industry.

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