EFSA sidelines GM maize food safety fears

5 October 2012

Double standards from EU food watchdog

Brussels, October 5 – Friends of the Earth Europe has today criticised the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for failing to take seriously enough concerns about the safety of genetically modified (GM) crops and the herbicides used on them.

Peer-reviewed research published last month in the internationally respected journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found significantly increased rates of cancer and death in rats fed both Monsanto's GM maize and its herbicide Roundup. [1]

Reacting two weeks after the study's publication, EFSA yesterday cast doubt on the quality and design of the paper. [2]

Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "We are not convinced that EFSA is putting public safety before the interests of agribusiness. For the past decade, EFSA has consistently sided with the biotech industry and disregarded health or environment concerns about genetically modified crops. Instead of picking holes in independent, peer-reviewed research, it should be taking public concerns seriously and making long-term safety tests for genetically modified foods compulsory in the EU.

"The reaction from EFSA shows their double standards. If they had been as thorough with Monsanto's applications as they were with this new research then no GMO would have been approved in the EU."

Friends of the Earth Europe is calling for:

  • National governments and EU safety authorities to suspend immediately from the market all GM products with a resistance to the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate).
  • The European Commission to suspend all new GMO approvals and to start a root-and-branch reform of how the risks of GM foods are assessed.
  • The EU to review the safety of the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate), including the link between GM crops and the use of this herbicide.

As well as posing unnecessary risks to human health, Friends of the Earth Europe believes GMOs destroy biodiversity, lead to increased costs for conventional farmers, increase corporate control of the food chain, and fail to combat global hunger.


[1] Food and Chemical Toxicology, Gilles-Eric Séralini (2012) Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant
genetically modified maize

[2] 4 October 2012, EFSA publishes initial review on GM maize and herbicide study, http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/121004.htm