Green MEP Jose Bove has been invited to a conference in Parma, Italy today to mark the 10th anniversary of the General Food Law and the creation of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). The Greens are convinced that more than ever we need a strong and independent agency to ensure the safety of the food of 500 million people.
The current model of European Union funded research is heavily loaded towards bio-technology without ever questioning the usefulness of these new technologies. At the same time, the EFSA simply does not have enough support from the European Commission to carry out its mission to independently assess the real impact of these new technologies on health and on the environment. With its meagre budget it is simply unable to meet all expectations.
As a result, what we see is an astonishing 100% success rate for GMO approvals and conflicts of interest that call into question the independence of EFSA’s safety assessments. The recent study by Seralini et al. detailed disturbing health findings and showed industry testing to be completely inadequate. Equally worrying though was the preliminary opinion from EFSA which amounted to a “cut and paste” of industry arguments trashing the study and did not even consider the acknowledged lack of long term impact studies and the need for these studies to be realised.
The European Commissioners and Heads of Government must act to improve scientific expertise and its independence and plurality, rather than trying to find new ways to allow GMO contaminated products onto the market against the will of the overwhelming majority of Europeans. A good place to start would be to give EFSA the support that is needed for real independent scientific expertise. However, the best risk assessment possible should never be used to impose unwanted technologies or products on citizens and their usefulness for society must be the determining factor in political decision making.