MON810 is a Bt maize event owned by Monsanto that produces a modified form of the Bt toxin Cry1Ab. It was developed by using two transgenic constructs for the Bt toxin, a herbicide tolerance, antibiotic resistance markers and start and stop codons. Using a shot gun method, the DNA sequences were only introduced partially so that MON810 produces only the Bt toxin, while the DNA sequences of the inserts are still not completely identified.
In the last years, a growing number of studies have shown adverse effects of the Bt toxin on non-target organisms, including effects that were only discovered after the the initial cultivation approvals were given. However, research about MON810 is hindered because research and publications about MON810 effects need the approval of Monsanto as the patent holder.
MON810 has been cultivated in the US since 1995. It got cultivation approval in the EU under 90/220 in 1998, but was only introduced to the seed catalogue in 2004. MON810 cultivation is banned in the EU memberstates Austria, Poland, France and Greece. In April 2008 Romania also announced that it would ban its cultivation. In Germany, the sale of MON810 was stopped in 2007 because the authorities did not consider the monitoring plan as sufficient, and even though a new monitoring plan has now be accepted, it has been widely criticized.


ifrik: German court confirmed that the agricultural minister sufficiently checked the potential risks of GM maize #MON810 cultivation.

ifrik: the (German) paperwork on Germany's #MON810 ban, the sales stop in 2007 and #Monsanto 's monitoring report for 2008:

Today the German minister for Agriculture Aigner announced that she would use the safety clauses in Article 20(3) of the German law on genetic engineering as well as Article 23 of the EU Directive 2001/18 on Deliberate Release to stop the cultivation of Monsanto's GM maize MON810.
In a press conference she stated: "The cultivation of MON810 is thereby forbidden." The assessment of the different authorities gave no consistent opinion on environmental effects of MON810.

Middle of April is the deadline: that's when the maize will be sown in Germany, and according to the public register about 3700 hectare will be sown with the GM maize MON810. And the call to agricultural minister Aigner to stop the cultivation is getting louder and louder, especially after the EU environmental ministers - and among them the German minister Gabriel - confirmed the Austrian and Hungarian ban of MON810 in 2 March 2009.

MON810 cultivation in the EU is decreasing. Not only big parts of the population, but also an increasing number of regional and national governments declare their opposition. Luxembourg is reported to consider a ban, and in the German parliament a discussion about stopping MON810 cultivation is under way.

Friends of the Earth published their 2009 copy of their report "who benefits from gm crops?" and that's certainly worth reading (report, summary).
Over the years there has been criticism about the cultivation figures published annually by ISAAA because Clive James repeatedly has refused to give information about where these numbers are coming from while they are continuously refered to as the only available source for GM acreage worldwide. Not surprisingly ISAAA saw an increase in 2008 again, speaking of a "historic milestone"
However, FoE come to a very different conclusion when they reviewed the last ISAAA report as well as figures given by EuropaBio. ISAAA increased the acreage it reports by simply multiplying each hectare by the number of GM traits grown on it. So a hectare of Bt maize is a hectare of GM cultivation, but a hectare of Bt maize with herbicide tolerance adds up to two hectares - at least in the eyes of ISAAA. So if all agricultural land would be grown with triple-stack crops, we suddenly would have three times as much agricultural as before?

[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=229|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]A new study from the GenOk Centre for Biosafety in Tromso show a reduced fitness of Daphnia magna fed on Bt maize MON810. Daphnias fed on MON810 had a higher mortality rate, less females reached sexual maturation, and the overall egg production was lower compared to D. magna fed isogenic maize. Since this reduced fitness after feeding on Bt maize coincided with an earlier onset of reproduction, the scientists concluded a toxic effect rather than a lower nutritional value of the GM-maize.

[img_assist|nid=227|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=43]Eine Recherche darüber wer mit wem Verbindungen hat in der Entwicklung, der Risikobewertung und der Zulassung von Gv-Pflanzen in Deutschland zeigt, dass viele der involvierten Presonen sehr vielfältige Kontakte habe, darunter auch zu Lobby-Organisationen und zur Gentechnik-Industrie.

Der vollständige Bericht ist hier als pdf erhältlich.

Aus dem Inhalt:

A. Lorch & Ch. Then, Studie für U. Höfken, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Mai 2008.

[img_assist|nid=107|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=99|height=43]In Duitsland heeft de overheid de verkoop van Monsanto's gentechmaïs MON810 gestopt, tot Monsanto een nieuwe plan voor de monitoring van effecten op het milieu voorlegt. Reden voor deze eis zijn nieuwe wetenschappelijke inzichten, dat MON810 grotere negatieve effecten op het milieu heeft dan tot nu toe verwacht.
Omdat de nieuwe regeling pas kort na het zaaien van het maïszaad bekend gemaakt werd, zal de teelt van MON810-maïs er dit jaar niet meer door getroffen zijn. Desondanks is deze beslissing van groot belang voor de verdere beoordeling van MON810 in de EU.

De gentech-maïs MON810 van Monsanto was al in 1998 voor commerciële landbouw in de EU toegelaten, maar wordt sinds 2003 in Spanje, en pas 2006 ook in sommige andere landen geteeld; vooral in Duitsland, waar het toelaten van MON810-soorten einde 2005 een van de eerste taken van de nieuwe regering was.

Volgens de Duitse Dienst voor Consumentenbescherming en Levensmiddelveiligheid laat nieuw wetenschappelijk onderzoek zien, in welke mate het Bt-gif van MON810 in de voedselketen van dieren terecht komt, en dat het nu bewezen is, dat ook andere dieren (zogenaamde niet-doelorganismen) zoals roof-insecten op hogere niveaus van de voedselketen aan het gif blootgesteld zijn.

Op dit moment vraagt Monsanto aan boeren, enquêtes in te vullen over algemene informatie over hun MON810 teelt en andere landbouw-parameters, maar volgens de dienst zijn deze enquêtes niet voldoende om de nodige en statisch verwerkbare informatie over effecten op het milieu en vooral over niet-doelorganismen te verzamelen.

De overheid vraagt daarom aan Monsanto een monitoring plan te ontwikkelen dat met de volgende punten rekening houdt:
a) verspreiding van kiembare maïs-korrels in het milieu,
b) verspreiding van het Bt-gif in het milieu,
c) verblijf van het Bt-gif in de bodem en effecten op bodemdieren,