EFSA jeopardises public confidence

Food Safety Agency fails to recognise need for long term risk assessments

Unsurprisingly, after a preliminary negative opinion, EFSA has now rejected once more the conclusions of the Séralini et al. study on the long term health impacts of GM maize NK603 and its associated herbicide, Round-up. This new opinion, written by the same scientists that had been criticised for having given a positive opinion on this maize in the first place, does not change or add anything to the preliminary one and is nothing more than a compilation of all the critiques from pro-GMO scientists and national agencies that had given a green light to unsatisfactory and secret industry data for risk assessments of this GMO. EFSA does not even recognise the need for long term health risk assessments of GMOs that the Séralini et al. study highlighted even though the two French agencies that reviewed the study stated that such long term studies had never been performed. As we have already noticed, the EFSA review has been made by scientists who had been involved in GMO risk assessment and discarded the need for long term assessments and who had already a long standing negative opinion of Seralini's team. It would have been more honest for EFSA to explain how the critiques in the study did not apply to the industry studies, which have not been made public for independent scientists to review. The Greens/EFA group is very disappointed that despite recent harsh criticism from all corners of EFSA's conflicts of interest, lack of independence from industry and recent lip service from its management about improvements on these issues, nothing seems to change within the agency, which seems unable to question its own work. EFSA is not gaining any credibility by regurgitating the same arguments that were used already the day following the study (which, after all, had been peer-reviewed in a renowned scientific journal) and not even considering that there is a blatant lack of long term studies that would restore public confidence in the EU expertise system. It is very symptomatic that GMO companies prefer investing millions of dollars to prevent GMO labelling in California, for example, that carrying out a single long term study that would demonstrate there's no problem with GMOs, as they claim. We call on new SANCO Commissioner, Tonio Borg, to request companies to perform long term studies and EFSA to get rid of undue industry influence.

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