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Food safety agency questions French GMO report

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Monday, 08 October 2012

Food safety agency questions French GMO report

The European Food Safety Authority on Thursday (4 October) rebuked a French biologist’s study that questions the safety of Monsanto’s genetically modified maize and Roundup herbicide, saying in a preliminary report that the research was “of insufficient scientific quality”. EFSA’s assessment came nine days after the European Commission requested a review of the controversial University of Caen study. The French study found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 - a maize seed variety doused with Roundup weedkiller - or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet. The food agency’s initial review said the analysis contained in the study, led by biologist Gilles-Éric Séralini, was insufficient and asked for additional evidence by 12 October.
But EFSA's findings triggered renewed criticism that the Parma, Italy-based EU agency favours the biotech industry in its safety assessments and product approvals. EFSA has been under fire for years for allegedly tilting towards business interests. In February, a report by two campaign groups, the Corporate Europe Observatory and the Earth Open Source, accused the agency of repeatedly relying on industry scientists and information in risk assessments that are used by EU institutions and national governments.
Although the decade-old agency has defended its decisions, in March it announced moves to clarify disclosure rules and guidelines on who can serve as scientific experts to address criticism in its evaluations of products, including the safety of genetically modified crops. Agency officials described the independence policy as a prioritising and consolidation of existing guidelines rather than a major overhaul of standards.


Source: EurActiv