A recent Testbiotech report showed that the risks associated with Bt maize 1507, which is about to be authorised for cultivation in the EU, were incorrectly assessed by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). Despite the fact that this type of maize has an an extremely high concentration of insecticide in its pollen the EFSA did not request any investigations be carried out on butterflies or other prevalent insects in Europe.
The EFSA has misinterpreted the data from scientific publications and has even overlooked crucial trial results revealing that a European butterfly species (waxmoth) has a surprisingly high susceptibility. No other investigations concerning protected European butterflies have been published.
“The EFSA is acting irresponsibly. The authority omitted the proper assessment of crucial studies and did not request the basic data which was absolutely necessary for proper risk assessment,” says Andreas Bauer-Panskus, author of the recent Testbiotech report. “European governments should give a clear signal and reject the opinion of the EFSA and not grant approval of 1507 maize.”
Maize 1507 expresses a so-called Bt toxin (Cry1F) which is originally derived from a soil organism. The Bt toxin produced in 1507 differs from the one in MON810 (Cry1Ab) and is toxic to a broader range of pest insects than MON810. Furthermore maize 1507 is tolerant against the herbicide glufosinate (brand names Liberty, Basta) that is known to provoke negative health impacts in humans. The Testbiotech report shows that there are many uncertainties and risks that were not properly assessed by the EFSA, including human health issues.
Maize 1507 was assessed by the EFSA in 2005 but at that time the EU Commission and Member States raised several critical questions. A further EFSA opinion was published in 2008. The Council of Ministers in the EU is currently expected to take a final vote on this product very shortly. Maize 1507 and another Bt maize known as Bt11, could become the next generation of genetically engineered crops licensed for cultivation in the EU after MON810 and the potato Amflora.
For further information please contact:
Christoph Then, Testbiotech Tel.: +49 (0)151 54 63 80 40 and
Andrea Reiche, press officer, Tel +49 (0)89 35 89 92 76
Testbiotech e. V.
Institute for Independent Impact Assessment in Biotechnology
Frohschammerstr. 14, 80807 München
Fon: +49 (0)89-358 99 92 76
Fax: +49 (0)89-359 66 22
Executive Director: Christoph Then