Genetic engineering: maize dangerous for humans? The Institute for Independent Risk and Accompanying Research in Biotechnology, Testbiotech e.V., has pointed out possible risks to health and the environment from genetically modified maize 1507. In addition, the European Food Authority (EFSA) is said to have carried out an incomplete check. Nevertheless, the maize could soon be approved for cultivation in Europe.
(25.04.2010) The Institute for Independent Risk and Accompanying Research in Biotechnology, Testbiotech e.V., has pointed out possible risks to health and the environment from genetically modified maize 1507. Nevertheless, the corn is soon to be approved for cultivation in Europe.
Corn 1507 is said to have a massive concentration of an insecticide, called Bt toxin Cry1F, in its pollen, which is toxic to a large number of insect species. In addition, corn 1507 is said to tolerate a weed killer called glufosinate. This, in turn, should be able to cause health damage to people.
Testbiotech indicated that there was no thorough analysis of the risks for insects caused by 1507 maize. EFSA is said to have requested no evidence or evidence in this regard. There is even a study that shows that a butterfly species in Europe, the wax moth, is sensitive to maize 1507.
In addition to Testbiotech, the environmental organization Greenpeace also uncovered shortcomings in EFSA's assessment: indications of a possible negative assessment of the approval for cultivation should not have been followed. Basic data are even said to be missing from the applicant's documents. And last but not least, the framework conditions for the monitoring measures prescribed by law for cultivation should be inadequate. Andreas Bauer-Panskus, from Testbiotech and author of the report, accuses EFSA of negligence. According to him, the authority should not have asked for important data for risk assessment.
The allegations to EFSA are not new: Already in 2005, genetically modified maize was classified as safe there. The report was criticized by the European Commission and various member states. In 2008, EFSA followed up again with the same assessment. The maize will be released for cultivation in Europe if the European Ministers of Agriculture agree with EFSA. If these and other genetically modified varieties such as Bt11 were approved, this would be the first time since 1998. Corn 1507 is sold by the US seed company Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., which belongs to the DuPont group. The company had already been mentioned in the critical documentary film “We feed the world”. (TF)