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European Union court rules activists can challenge EU approval of GMOs

Reviving a challenge to Monsanto’s marketing of food that contains genetically modified organisms, Europe’s highest court ruled [Maarch 14] that an environmental review is a suitable way to address health concerns.

The German nongovernmental organization TestBioTech brought the review demand in May 2015, about a month after regulators at the European Commission authorized Monsanto’s application to market food, ingredients and animal feed containing genetically modified soybeans.

Setting the stage for such authorization, the European Food Safety Authority determined previously that genetically modified soybeans presented no more concerns than non-genetically modified soybeans with respect to potential effects on human and animal health or on the environment.

Citing EU law that bars the marketing of food and feed that cause adverse effects on human health, animal health or the environment, the Luxembourg-based court emphasized that the genetically modified “soybeans constituted, when being cultivated, elements modified by human intervention that were in interaction with the natural environment.”

“Accordingly, genetic modifications of those elements of the environment were liable to have consequences for their nutritional value or to represent a risk for food safety and constituted therefore matters within the scope of environmental law within the meaning of Regulation No 1367/2006,” the ruling states.

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