UK government to intervene in Monsanto GM soy case

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

UK government to intervene in Monsanto GM soy case

Related tags: European union

The UK government has confirmed its intention to intervene in a case against the European Commission's approval of a Monsanto GM soy variety at the European Court of Justice.

A coalition of environmental groups brought the case against the European Commission in March last year, claiming that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had not carried out all the safety assessments required by law before backing the safety of the company’s genetically modified (GM) Intacta soybeans for use in food and feed. The European Commission then approved the use of the stacked soy variety in the European Union.

The crop expresses an insecticidal protein and is resistant to glyphosate herbicides, sold by Monsanto under its Roundup brand.

In a written parliamentary answer​, under-secretary of state, Department of Health, Earl Howe said: The United Kingdom has a strong interest in the science-based system underpinning genetically modified product applications and so has applied to intervene in this case, which concerns the authorisation of genetically modified food and feed.

“Any intervention will represent the view of the Government as a whole and the only likely external legal costs will be those from instructing counsel and costs of attending any hearing should that prove necessary.”

The environmental groups that filed the case include The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), the Society for Ecological Research, the foundation Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection, the Foundation on Future Farming, the non-profit organisation Sambucus and Testbiotech.

Reasons given to the court for challenging the EFSA decision are: (1) the conclusion that this soybean can be regarded as equivalent with soybeans from conventional breeding, (2) there has been no investigation of combinatorial effects, (3) flawed examination of allergenic risks and (4) there is no obligation for monitoring health effects at the stage of consumption.

A Monsanto spokesperson told FoodNavigator that the company's status in the case was the same as that of the UK government, as both had chosen to intervene separately after the case was filed.

In July, Monsanto said it would withdraw pending applications for the cultivation of four genetically modified crops in the EU, saying they were “going nowhere fast”.

However, the EU still imports millions of tonnes of GM crops for use in animal feed.

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LONG TERM tests please

Posted by 3xMommo,

90 days is NOT ENOUGH. Lifetime feeding studies, please. They have never been proven safe- and they are NOT substantially equivalent. See these TWO recent studies proving so.

and on soy, Elsevier Food and Toxicology:
Accepted Manuscript- printing soon-
Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: glyphosate accumulates
in Roundup Ready GM soybeans
T. Bøhn, M. Cuhra, T. Traavik, M. Sanden, J. Fagan, R. Primicerio
PII: S0308-8146(13)01920-1
Reference: FOCH 15171
To appear in: Food Chemistry
Received Date: 3 July 2013
Revised Date: 7 November 2013
Accepted Date: 11 December 2013
Please cite this article as: Bøhn, T., Cuhra, M., Traavik, T., Sanden, M., Fagan, J., Primicerio, R., Compositional
differences in soybeans on the market: glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans, Food
Chemistry (2013), doi:
This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. As a service to our customers
we are providing this early version of the manuscript.

Report abuse


Posted by harry,

Current scientific applied tests for GMO foods long term use, concerning the affect on human, animal and environmental health remain unsatisfactory. Clinically are currently not viable in maintaining any reasonable health standard

Report abuse

GMO testing

Posted by Robert Wager,

I would ask the critics of GMO's this simple question. What tests not already done would you like to see added to the evaluation of GM crops?

The answer will be most telling.

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