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Testbiotech

Testbiotech was founded in 2008 by a group of experts and registered as a non-profit organisation to promote independent research and public debate on the impacts of biotechnology. Testbiotech is a centre of expertise concerned mainly with the ecological, social and ethical consequences of modern biotechnology.

Spreading the risks: when genetically engineered organisms go wild
A new peer reviewed paper is published in the international Environmental Sciences Europe journal. The paper addresses specific environmental risks associated with genetically engineered (GE) plants that can spread and propagate in the environment. It is the first publication with a focus on on the risk assessment of so-called next generation effects. The review addresses unintended effects that were observed in spontaneous hybrid offspring but absent in the original plants. Some of the risks include a higher invasive potential of the GE plants and/or disruption of the associated ecosystems.

Start of proceedings in legal challenge to EU approval of genetically engineered maize
Testbiotech has filed a new legal challenge against EU approval for the import of genetically engineered maize.

European Court of Justice does not request a more detailed investigation of risks of genetically engineered soybeans
Today, the European Court of Justice published the decision on a legal case filed by Testbiotech together with the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) and the environmental organisation Sambucus (C-82/17 P).

Genetically engineered mosquitoes out of control
According to a new scientific publication, genetically engineered mosquitoes produced by Oxitec (Intrexon) have escaped human control after trials in Brazil.

The US example shows why new methods of genetically engineering crop plants need to be regulated
According to research carried out by Testbiotech, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has already given non-regulated status to more than 20 plants genetically engineered with so-called genome editing techniques. None of the applications registered at USDA were referred for further more detailed assessment. The Testbiotech report published today shows that there are however significant differences in methods of production, traits and risks of the non-regulated plants in comparison to those derived from conventional breeding.

EU Ombudswoman starts investigation on risk assessment of genetically engineered soybeans
The office of the European Ombudsman has confirmed it will investigate a complaint by GeneWatch UK, supported by TestBiotech, regarding the authorisation for import of three transgenic crops with altered oil content for use as food and feed.

EU Court of Justice strengthens the precautionary principle
The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) today confirmed the right of civil society organisations to submit legal cases concerning the health risks of genetically engineered plants.

Genome editing: Legal expert criticises opinion of Attorney General of the EuCJ
On 18 January, the Attorney General of the EU Court of Justice (EuCJ) published his position on whether or not so-called genome editing must be regulated under current EU GMO legislation. On behalf of Testbiotech, the well-known EU legal expert Professor Ludwig Kraemer has now analysed the position of the Attorney General (C-528/16).

Growing opposition to patents on seeds
As a new report published today by No Patents on Seeds! shows, the European Patent Office (EPO) continues to grant patents on plants derived from conventional breeding – even though the contracting states urged the enforcement of relevant prohibitions in 2017.

EU Commission uses the Christmas period to grant authorisation for imports of genetically engineered soybeans
The EU Commission has granted six further authorisations for genetically engineered plants, including some controversial genetically engineered soybeans with triple herbicide resistance.

No new approvals for genetically engineered soybeans sprayed with glyphosate!
After the vote on glyphosate was postponed again, Testbiotech is demanding that all approvals for genetically engineered soybeans sprayed with glyphosate are stopped.

Testbiotech files legal case against the EU authorisation of 'toxic soybeans' produced by Bayer & Monsanto
Testbiotech has filed a case at the General Court of the EU against authorisation for the import of genetically soybeans produced by Bayer and Monsanto.

Soybean 'Intacta' ruling: Appeal filed at the European Court of Justice
Appellants seek clarity on fundamental legal questions regarding the risk assessment of genetically engineered plants

Cloned bulls and the implications of CETA
Research conducted by Testbiotech has shown that cows and their offspring stemming from cloned bulls are registered in a professional breeders database in the UK. It is likely that a considerable number of animals stemming from clones have already entered the EU. At present, the EU has no labelling or registration requirements for these kinds of imports, which makes it almost impossible to identify breeding material stemming from cloned bulls. The research was commissioned by the Greens/EFA Group in the EU Parliament.

Legal dossier: Cultivation of genetically engineered maize in the EU has to be suspended
According to a recent legal dossier, the pending applications for the cultivation of genetically engineered maize in the EU suffer from crucial deficiencies. In consequence, the pending applications must be rejected and the existing authorisation for cultivation of maize MON810 withdrawn. The applications were filed by Monsanto, Pioneer/DuPont and Syngenta. They have wholly ignored recent developments and failed to properly address the risk of the transgenes spreading to other plant species.

Genetically engineered maize: risks not under control - Companies disregarding EU regulation
The EU Commission wants to allow the cultivation of genetically engineered maize before the growing season 2017 starts. Three variants of transgenic maize producing insecticidal toxins, registered as MON810, Maize 1507 and Bt 11, are being considered. Monsanto, DuPont/Pioneer and Syngenta are pushing for the market introduction of the seeds. EU Member States are expected to vote on this issue on 9 December.

European Food Safety Authority and EU Commission suspected of abusing their power to bolster their position at the EU Court of Justice
European Food Safety Authority and EU Commission suspected of abusing their power to bolster their position at the EU Court of Justice

Risks and side effects for humans and animals: What really goes wrong in the regulation of genetically engineered plants
At present, there is a controversy in the EU as to whether feeding trials with genetically engineered plants have to be conducted before the plants are granted market authorisation. Both the biotech industry and EFSA experts are pushing for these feeding trials not to be mandatory. They are demanding the withdrawal of a regulation requesting 90-day feeding trials that was only very recently introduced by the EU Commission. This is the background against which Testbiotech is publishing its new report providing an overview of the risks of genetically engineered plants for humans and animals, and showing that current regulations are completely inadequate.

Conflicts of interest played down by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
In an open letter to the EFSA Management Board, Testbiotech and GeneWatch UK are urging them to take measures to safeguard the independence of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and restore its credibility.

Case against the authorisation of Monsanto genetically engineered Intacta soybeans to be heard at the EU Court of Justice
The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has scheduled a hearing for the 12 May on legal action brought against the import of the genetically engineered Monsanto soybeans (T-77/13). MON87701 x MON89788 soybeans were authorised in the EU for use in food and feed. They are grown predominantly in Brazil and sold under the brand name Intacta. These plants have a unique combination of two genetically engineered traits: They express a so-called insecticidal Bt toxin and are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, commonly known under trade names such as Roundup.

After pressure from industry: EU Commission wants to allow the import of genetically engineered "toxic" soybeans
Concerns about health risks due to residues from spraying glyphosate in combination with other herbicides

Syngenta granted patent on pepper for use as food
The European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich has granted the Swiss seed giant, Syngenta, a patent on pepper and its use "as fresh produce, as fresh cut produce, or for processing such as, for example, canning" (EP 2 166 833 B1). The patent also covers the plants, their cultivation, harvesting and seeds. The plants have been developed to produce pepper without seeds and are derived from conventional breeding using existing biodiversity. There was no genetic engineering involved in the process.

Time to stop the cultivation of genetically engineered maize MON810
As several documents from Monsanto, the EU Commission and European Food Safety Authority EFSA show, cultivation of genetically engineered maize MON810 does not comply with EU regulations.

New analysis of genetically engineered maize 1507: Risk research controlled by industry
In just a few weeks time the EU Commission could give permission for the commercial cultivation of maize 1507.

Genetically engineered soybeans in EU Court of Justice: David and Goliath
Monsanto, the British Government, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the EU Commission are joining forces in EU Court proceedings to prevent risky genetically engineered soybeans from being withdrawn from the food market.

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