25.06.2012 - A European authority says Monsanto's roundup-ready soy is safe for man and environment. But there is doubt remaining.
Parma/Munich – For the first time, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) soy. So far, the GM soy "roundup-ready" by US-industry leader Monsanto can only be imported to the EU. The Scientific Opinion published by the EFSA’s GMO panel now paves the way for EU Commissioner John Dalli. The Commission can give Monsanto the green light for cultivating the crop on European soils if the EU member states will not achieve a qualified majority on the issue.
However, there might be a fierce head wind blowing. German anti-GMO association Testbiotech e.V. points out that there's a legal minefield in the way. A study done on behalf of Testbiotech says that an expected admittance might violate EU law. Matter of concern: the EFSA opinion itself. According to the study, the EFSA should have also tested if the residues of pesticides to be used (in this case glyphosate) could have negative effects on human health. Not implementing this concern in the risk assessment could be equivalent to a breach of EU laws. The crop in question is soybean 40-3-2. It carries a gene that makes it tolerant to glyphosate (brand name: Roundup). That is why the soybean is also dubbed "roundup-ready soy". The EFSA opinion clearly regulates the use of this pesticide: "It should result in similar or reduced environmental impacts compared with conventional soybean cultivation." The panel also recommends that case-specific monitoring of (1) changes in weed community diversity; and (2) the evolution of resistance to glyphosate in weeds should be deployed.
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