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Anti-GM protesters 'storm' EFSA headquarters

By Nathan Gray+

21-Mar-2014
Last updated on 21-Mar-2014 at 11:53 GMT

Anti-GM protesters 'storm' EFSA headquarters

A group of anti-GM protesters forced entry into EFSA’s premises yesterday, in what the authority says was a bid to 'denounce' its role in assessing GMO applications in the European Union.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released news of the take-over of its premises yesterday, in which staff were asked to leave the building.

Jan Op Gen Oorth, EFSA's media relations officer told NutraIngredients: “EFSA’s building was stormed today by anti-GMO activists and we had to leave the building.”

EFSA responded to the protesters, adding that it respects the right of citizens to protest peacefully and express their opinions about the science agency's work.

"However, EFSA deplores the method chosen by the protesters to convey their views on this occasion," it said.

The agency added that it is proud of its record of engagement with stakeholders and pressure groups, including those that hold strong views about its work.

"The Authority devotes a large proportion of its resources to ensuring that all voices are heard and will continue to do so in the future," said EFSA.

Speaking to NutraIngredients, Robert Verkerk, PhD, the founder, executive and scientific director of the Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-I) suggested that public protests and civil disobedience happen when people feel that all other options for achieving change have run out.

"EFSA’s linear and somewhat myopic approach to risk management of GM crops, using only industry-supplied data, fails to take on the broader scientific questions of GM technology and risks to humans and the environment," he said. "If you add to this the arguments EFSA has used to diss Seralini’s work, the protests are the inevitable consequence.”

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