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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
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Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
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A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
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E.U. Science Panel Dismisses French GM Concerns--Again
22 May 2012 1:33 pm
France's latest attempt to keep genetically modified (GM) crops from its fields has been rebuked by a scientific panel at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Yesterday, EFSA issued an opinion dismissing France's argument that a GM maize variety produced by Monsanto might be harmful to the environment or human health.
The opinion is the latest blow in a long-running battle over MON810, also known as YieldGard, whose cultivation has been banned in a handful of European countries despite its approval by the European Commission in 1998. The French government, faced with strong public opposition to GM crops, banned Mon810 in 2008 under a so-called "safeguard clause" that gives countries some leeway to duck European rules. EFSA rejected the measure later that year, and in 2011, France's Council of State also ruled that the prohibition was out of line.
In February, France again asked the European Commission for permission to ban MON810, armed with a new scientific dossier. In it, the French government argues, among other things, that Cry1Ab, a protein produced by MON810 to ward off maize stalk borers, could hurt non-target species such as bees and butterflies, and that it could linger in the soil. But in yesterday's report, EFSA's Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms said the file contains some of the same evidence France presented—and EFSA rejected—in 2008; in the remainder, the panel "could not identify any new science-based evidence indicating that maize MON 810 cultivation in the EU poses a significant and imminent risk to the human and animal health or the environment."
Given recent history, EFSA's decision is "not really a surprise," AFP quoted a spokesperson for European health Commissioner John Dalli as saying. The commission is considering its next move, but "technically, we could now demand that France lift its ban," the spokesperson said.