European Food Safety Authority rebuffs activist criticism of its safety assessment of insect and herbicide resistant GMO crops

f e b ea b edc d baf shutterstock acfb fc x

The Risk “Assessment of genetically engineered organisms in the EU and Switzerland” (RAGES) project (2016‐2019) evaluated the risk assessment of genetically modified plants (GMPs) as performed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and its Swiss counterpart.

RAGES claims shortcomings in several areas of the European risk assessment of GMPs, in particular: (1) the risk posed by herbicide tolerant GMPs on animal and human health; (2) the risk assessment approach of GMPs producing insecticidal proteins; (3) the risk assessment of nutritionally altered GMPs; (4) the assessment of GMPs combining different traits; (5) the environmental risk assessment of GMPs that can persist and spontaneously propagate in the environment; and (6) genetically modified organisms (GMOs) produced using new genetic engineering technologies.

Following a request of the European Commission, EFSA reviewed the main scientific arguments raised by RAGES, and assessed whether thereports published by RAGES contain elements that could lead the GMO Panel to reconsider the outcome of its previous scientific opinions on GMPs. EFSA confirms that its risk assessment approach and data requirements are adequate and sufficient for the risk assessment of current GMPs, and that they are consistent with the applicable EU legislation and internationally agreed standards.

EFSA notes that:

(1) Data for the agronomic, phenotypic and compositional characterisation of HT GMPs and derived food and feed products are gathered in field trials where GMPs are exposed to conventional and to the intended herbicide(s) in line with good agricultural practices, and thus they provide a robust basis for the comparative analysis of HT GMPs.

(2) All potential routes of environmental exposure of non-target organisms (NTOs) to GMPs for cultivation are typically considered as part of the risk assessment of GMPs, including those producing insecticidal proteins. EFSA appraises and analyses NTO data following a weight of evidence approach and applies the principles and methods available at the time of the risk assessment.

Related article:  Federal regulators ask biotech experts if GMO trees should be deployed to save 'dying' US forests

(3) Its guidance documents provide the necessary principles, strategy and data requirements for a comprehensive and adequate risk assessment of nutritionally altered GMPs for food and feed uses.

(4) The current risk assessment approach for stacked events in GMPs is sufficient to address the identification of risks for animals and consumers. EFSA does not consider the use of long-term animal studies with whole food and feed appropriate to explore the safety of GMPs in the absence of specific hypotheses to test.

(5) The approach for the environmental risk assessment of GMPs that can persist and spontaneously propagate in the environment is fit for purpose and consistent with EU requirements and internationally agreed approaches.

(6) It is currently assessing the adequacy and sufficiency of its current guidelines for the risk assessment and post-market environmental monitoring of GMOs produced through new genetic engineering technologies. The risk assessment approaches applied to GMPs are generally considered suitable for GMPs that induce silencing through RNA interference, without the necessity to develop specific guidance

Moreover, EFSA has gained more than 20 years of experience in the risk assessment of GMPs, and conducts a continued scientific review of all relevant evidence by following the scientific and technical developments in the GMO area. Overall, EFSA concludes that the final RAGES reports do not contain elements that would lead the GMO Panel to reconsider the outcome of its previous scientific opinions on GMPs. Therefore, EFSA considers that the previous GMO Panel risk assessment conclusions remain valid.

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend