On 31 Octobers, cottons fields were harvested in Texas, US. The cotton was then processed into cottonseed oil and cotton meal and sold as animal feed in the US and Mexico. Most of it might already been eaten up by now. One of the fields however was not a normal field but a field trial from Monsanto. A week after the harvest, scientists found that their experimental Bt cotton field had gone.

]On 4 December 2008, the EU environmental ministers decided that there needs to be a better system to assess the risks of GM crops. They cam to the conclusion that it would be especially important to study long-term effects, and that EFSA should pay more attention to the concerns raised by EU member states.

An assessment of statements and decisions by the EU Commission shows that the EU Commission repeatedly points to the independence of the EFSA instead of taking up the responsibility to assess and control the work of the EFSA. So far the Commission usually hides behind the EFSA opinions and in practice even leaves the power to take decisions to the EFSA even though this is in contradiction to the EU regulation. In other cases however, like the cultivation of Bt11, 1507 maize and Amflora, at least some parts of the EU Commission disagree with the EFSA opinion.

Christoph Then & Antje Lorch. Study for Hiltrud Breyer (MEP) Bündnis 90/Die Grnen. December 2008.

Die Auswertung von Stellungnahmen und Entscheidungen der EU-Kommission führt vor Augen, dass die EU-Kommission sich mit Verweis auf die Unabhängigkeit der EFSA ihrer Aufgabe entzogen hat, klare Vorgaben für deren Arbeit zu machen, die EFSA-Angaben zu prüfen und zu kontrollieren. Sie hat sich bisher hinter den Gutachten der EFSA versteckt und im Endeffekt Entscheidungsgewalt auf die EU-Lebensmitelbehörde verlagert, obwohl dies laut entsprechenden EU-Vorschriften nicht möglich ist. In einigen Fälle jedoch, z.B.

Christoph Then & Antje Lorch, 2008. Studie im Auftrag von Hiltrud Breyer, MEP, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen.

[img_assist|nid=227|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=43]Kann ein Beamter einer Bundesforschungseinrichtung zusammen mit einer Wissenschaftlerin eines Dienstleistungsunternehmend Konzepte für die Überwachung von Gentechnikpflanzen entwickeln, wenn die gleiche Wissenschaftlerin von Monsanto bezahlt wird, um am Monitoringplan für den Gentech-Mais MON810 mitzuarbeiten?

A. Lorch, Scheinwerfer, November 2008.

Beware of scientists bearing claims of neutrality, warns Antje Lorch. A growing number of boffins are willing to speak up in defence of GM products, while industry figures lurk in the background.

The Ecologist, November 2008, page 33

[img_assist|nid=239|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]On 13 November 2008, the Dutch parliament decided that the agricultural minister Verburg should vote against the approval of the herbicide-tolerant soy MON89788 at the next Council Meeting of the EU agricultural ministers. Reasons are especially the failure of EFSA to consider long-term effects of GM crops.

[img_assist|nid=254|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]"Summarising the study, the maize with the stacked event NK603 x MON810 affected
the reproduction of mice in the RACB trial." - that is the conclusion of a study conducted by Austrian scientiest, commissioned by the Austrian ministries for agircultere and environement and for health.

[img_assist|nid=249|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]The November issue of the Ecologist has a special issue on "GM - Seeds of change or fool's gold?"
It contains a number of interesting articles on drought tolerance by Jack Heinemann, about pro-GM agendas in the media by Guy Cook, about developments in the UK by Clare Oxborrow, Becky Price and Pete Riley, about yields of GM crops by Ricarda Steinbrecher and Antje Lorch, and a short piece on PRRI.


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