25.11.2020 |

EFSA: Confusion about risks associated with New GE plants

Genetic engineering is endangering the livelihoods of future generations
Genetic engineering is endangering the livelihoods of future generations

Opinion of the EU authority considered insufficient and misleading

25 November 2020 / Testbiotech is extremely critical of a recent European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) opinion on the risks associated with plants derived from new genetic engineering (New GE). It considers the EFSA report on CRISPR & Co is both inadequate and misleading on the protection of health and the environment.

In its opinion published yesterday, EFSA claims that applications of gene scissors, such as CRISPR/Cas on plants, do not pose any specific risks as long as no additional genes are inserted. At the same time, EFSA agrees with Testbiotech that New GE opens up the way to new genetic combinations since it makes the whole genome accessible for changes caused, for example, by targeting several genes at once.

24.11.2020 |

Pesticides in Our Food System

Insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, collectively known as pesticides, are chemicals that are used in agricultural pest control. Learn about their impacts on the environment and public health.

Our industrial agricultural system relies heavily on pesticides, which control weeds, kill insects and stave off fungi. More than 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied annually to crops in the US, mostly in combination with seeds that are genetically engineered to withstand them. The escalating use of pesticides in recent decades has become a public health hazard, an environmental disaster and has even caused the evolution of “superweeds,” which require increasingly toxic pesticide formulas to kill. Consumers can help reduce the demand for products grown with pesticides by purchasing organic or low-spray produce and by joining organizations fighting against the powerful multi-billion-dollar pesticide industry.

13.11.2020 |

Press statement by Save Our Seeds on EFSAs advise for the risk assessment of Gene Drive Insects

save our seeds
save our seeds

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), on 12.11.2020 published an assessment on whether the currently existing European guidelines for the risk assessment of genetically modified insects are sufficient for the risk assessment of genetically modified Gene Drive insects.

Mareike Imken, Gene Drive policy advisor at Save Our Seeds for Gene Drive technology, comments on this:

EFSAs assessment, that existing guidelines for genetically engineered insects are insufficient in order to conduct environmental risk assessment for Gene Drive Organisms,

confirms our analysis. Due to their novel characteristics it will be extremely challenging – if not impossible – to uimodel, predict and monitor the behaviour of these genetically engineered organisms.

11.11.2020 |

EU Committee: Is Cibus SU Canola a GMO or not? What is the test good for?

Our new test keeps authorities and institutions busy. On 12 November 2020, it is on the agenda of the "Regulatory Committee 2001/18" of the EU, where representatives of all member states exchange views on questions of GMO regulation.

With regard to our detection method, two central questions are still being discussed: Is Cibus SU Canola a genetically modified organism (GMO) under EU law or not? And does a GMO detection test also have to identify the applied technology itself?

We have sent a briefing to the responsible representatives of the governments and authorities of the member states in advance, in which it is explained in detail that Cibus SU Canola is clearly to be considered a GMO under current EU law and would therefore be illegal here without approval.

On the basis of the numerous documents available, there is no doubt that the genome editing technique ODM - called Cibus RTDS by Cibus - was used to produce the rapeseed. Under EU law, this is clearly a GMO.

09.11.2020 |

GMO status of Cibus SU Canola

Brussels – In September, an open-source method to detect a gene-edited, herbicide-resistant canola developed by US company Cibus, was published in the scientific journal Foods.

SU Canola is not authorised for placing on the market in the European Union. Cibus’ subsequent statements that the SU Canola varieties currently on the market in North America are “not gene-edited” have caused some uncertainty about their GMO status, amplified by the European seed industry association’s adoption of that narrative.

This briefing sets out why SU Canola is a regulated GMO under the EU’s GMO laws, and why EU competent authorities must ensure this GMO is not present in EU supply chains.

06.11.2020 |

FDA must study what happens if GMO salmon escape, says judge

A federal judge in San Francisco ordered the FDA on Thursday to take a new and stronger look at the potential consequences on native salmon if AquaBounty’s fast-growing GMO salmon escaped from fish farms and established itself in the wild. District Judge Vince Chhabria left in place the FDA’s 2015 approval of the salmon, the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption, while the new research is conducted.

05.11.2020 |

GM Bt cotton has failed in India – new study

Researchers find GM Bt cotton leads to stagnant yields, high costs, increased insecticide use, low farmer incomes and farmer suicides

The conclusion of this study on GM Bt cotton in India speaks for itself: "The hybrid long-season Bt technology for rainfed and irrigated cotton is unique to India, and is a value capture mechanism. This technology is suboptimal, leading to stagnant yields, high input costs, increased insecticide use, and low farmer incomes that increase economic distress that is a proximate cause of cotton farmer suicides. The current GM Bt technology adds costs in rainfed cotton without commensurate increases in yield. Non-GM pure-line high-density short-season varieties could double rainfed cotton yield, reduce costs, decrease insecticide use, and help ameliorate suicides. The GM hybrid technology is inappropriate for incorporation in short-season high-density varieties."

05.11.2020 |

Argentina: Hands off our bread!

The government of Argentina just approved the world’s first genetically modified (GM) wheat and is ready to promote its widespread use (subject to Brazil’s approval, as they are the first recipient of Argentine wheat exports).

The authorised GM wheat is called HB4 (wheat IND-ØØ412-7) and has two characteristics: resistance to drought and tolerance to the herbicide glufosinate-ammonium. It was authorised by the Department of Food, Bio-economics and Regional Development of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries on 7 October in Resolution 41/2020 and published in the 9 October Official Gazette.

With this authorisation, agribusiness is further encroaching on the food of our peoples and on our agriculture, which we cannot accept and so we are forced to denounce and resist it by all possible means.

04.11.2020 |

Genetically modified soybean SYHT0H2


pursuant to Rule 112(2) and (3) of the Rules of Procedure

on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of or produced from genetically modified soybean SYHT0H2 (SYN-ØØØH2-5), pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council

(D068779/01 – 2020/2838(RSP))

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Members responsible: Tilly Metz

Günther Sidl, Anja Hazekamp, Eleonora Evi, Sirpa Pietikäinen

02.11.2020 |

GM-free applications from 11 councils rejected by South Australian Government

The South Australia Government has rejected 11 council applications to maintain a genetically modified (GM) crop ban in their area.

The decision means Kangaroo Island will be the only part of South Australia where GM crops cannot be grown.

In April this year, South Australia lifted its 16-year moratorium on GM crops across the mainland, but local councils were given six months to apply to be designated a GM crop cultivation-free area.

It was the result of a compromise the Liberal Government made with Labor after the legislation reached a stalemate in State Parliament.

For the councils to remain GM-free they had to demonstrate the policy provided an economic benefit to the region.

It could not include matters of human health or environmental impacts, as those are managed under Commonwealth legislation.