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23.05.2019 |

Stage set for new wave of genetically engineered plants to be approved and imported after EU elections

Outgoing EU Commission might approve several controversial applications before handing over

Thursday, 23 May 2019

More than 40 organisations from science, environmental protection, lobby control, food production and agriculture have today published a joint letter. They warn that the outgoing EU Commission might approve around a dozen genetically engineered plants on the basis of scientifically unacceptable risk assessment before handing over.

The letter has been signed by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL), Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE), Gene-Ethical Network (GeN), GeneWatch UK, Global 2000, Save our Seeds (SOS), Slow Food Germany, Testbiotech and many other civil society organisations. They are all demanding higher standards for the risk assessment of genetically engineered organisms. In this regard, the protection of health and the environment should be the highest priority.

At least twelve applications have been filed for approval, all of which have been assessed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Three of them concern genetically engineered maize that produce insecticidal toxins and are intended for use in cultivation. Amongst these is MON810 (Bayer/ Monsanto), which is already grown in Spain and awaiting re-authorisation. There is a risk of uncontrolled spread from these plants: a wild species related to maize (teosinte) has proliferated in Spain for a number of years. Maize and teosinte can hybridize and may produce offspring with unintended biological characteristics and new risks for the environment.

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