Yesterday, in the Parliament’s Petitions committee, Keith spoke in favour of a petition that is highly critical of the European Food Safety Authority’s decision making on GMOs. EFSA is tasked with carrying out risk assessments regarding food and feed safety, and routinely makes recommendations and decisions affecting the health of millions of EU citizens.
The petition, tabled by a UK citizen, highlights that EFSA has recently dismissed the Séralini report, a scientific study that found significantly increased rates of cancer and death in rats which were fed Monsanto’s genetically modified NK603 maize and the associated herbicide, Roundup, over a period of two years.
Even though the report, published in a peer-reviewed journal, highlighted negative long term impacts of GM maize, EFSA have not even recommended that a repeat study is done to verify the findings. Worryingly, the organisation does not even recognise the need for long term health risk assessments of GMOs.
Speaking during the debate, Keith said ‘In order to protect the health and wellbeing of EU citizens, I demand that EFSA gets rid of any undue industry influence and demonstrates that it has done so in a convincing way. One way of doing this could be to wind up the GMO panel and replace it with a body whose members have no personal interest in the GM industry. Not too much to ask from the body charged with overseeing the safety of our food. I also call on new SANCO Commissioner, Tonio Borg, to request that biotech companies perform long term studies.’
Keith believes that all industry data that has been used in assessing GMOs must immediately be made public, in order to allow for an independent review. Given the potential consequences for public health that Séralini’s study uncovered, GMO authorisations for growing or imports should be immediately halted.