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EU Commission uses the Christmas period to grant authorisation for imports of genetically engineered soybeans

10 January 2018
by testbiotech -- last modified 10 January 2018

The EU Commission has granted six further authorisations for genetically engineered plants, including some controversial genetically engineered soybeans with triple herbicide resistance.


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The decision to grant authorisation was made on the quiet by the EU Commission during the Christmas holiday period. Testbiotech has proven that the real risks from consumption of these soybeans were not investigated. But the EU Commission failed to respond to any of these scientific arguments. Instead, a letter dated 21 December was sent to Testbiotech in which the Commission set out purely formalistic arguments to the effect that no new evidence had been provided. The letter was sent at the same time the EU Commission made their decision to give green light for the soybeans, without mentioning in the letter.

"The timing and the circumstances of the decision show just how much the EU Commission fears a response from the public. In fact, the way in which this has been handled has the potential to damage the credibility of the EU institutions," Christoph Then says for Testbiotech. "Our response will be to put these authorisations even more to the forefront of our activities to make this public. The EU Commission must give much higher precedence to the protection of health and the environment."

According to a Testbiotech analysis, there are clear indications that the companies Dow and Bayer manipulated the data for risk assessment of their genetically engineered soybeans. The claim is based on analysis of the data presented by the companies for risk assessment in the EU. Analysis showed that Dow used a special sample of the genetically engineered soybeans in their feeding studies with rats, which was sprayed with much lower amount of herbicides than usual. In their field trials, Bayer only applied a fraction of the amounts of the herbicides that would normally be used in agricultural practice.

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.

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