High Risk GMOs Set to Benefit from EU-US Free Trade Deal

Posted on Jan 23 2014 - 3:03pm by Sustainable Pulse

Today, Testbiotech has published a new report on future developments in agro-biotechnology and genetic engineering. It focuses on genetically engineered organisms pending for market authorisation in the EU and those that are in the pipeline and might soon be on the market.

Special attention has been given to new genome technologies. Furthermore, it includes a discussion of the potential influence of the planned free trade agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP) on the authorisation of new genetically engineered organisms for use in agriculture and food production.

The new report was written for Martin Häusling from the Green Group in European Parliament.

The EU has currently halted talks with the US on the TTIP and launched a three-month public consultation on the proposed investment rules for firms. However, negotiations are set to continue later in 2014.

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“Current developments are moving away from the traditional systems of breeding and agriculture and expanding into technologies that are complex, failure-prone and associated with uncertainties and risks. At the same, industry wants to facilitate placing such products on the market via the new free trade agreement (TTIP) between EU and USA”, says Christoph Then for Testbiotech “Targeted attacks aim to weaken the precautionary principle which is the only sound rational to deal with these technologies. There is severe pressure on the EU to lower the level of protection for health and the environment.”

Also in future, the majority of currently pending market applications are for genetically engineered plants with herbicide resistance and insecticidal toxicity. These same traits also appear in so-called stacked events, which are a combination of several genetically engineered plants in one event. The stacks of the highest order (so far) are plants that are resistant to up to four herbicides and at the same time produce half a dozen insecticidal toxins. Stacking such genes ultimately means pyramiding risks and uncertainties.

Some of the genetically engineered trees and animals that might be used in agriculture or forestry in the near future show a high potential for spreading uncontrollably in the environment. These risks are particularly relevant for planned field trials of genetically engineered insects and forest trees such as poplar.

In recent years, several new genome technologies have been developed that allow a radical transformation of the genome. These new technologies are summarised in this report as ‘synthetic genome technologies’. They are already applied in practice without this being widely known. Not only are these new technologies associated with new risks but also with ethical problems concerning genetic identity and the integrity of living beings.

The new free trade agreement (TTIP) between EU and USA might facilitate placing new risky products the market. This report presents some of the arguments used by the proponents of this policy who want to pave the way for the marketing of these products. Under attack by industry is especially the precautionary principle which has to be observed in release or market authorisation of genetically engineered organisms in accordance with current EU regulations.

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4 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. David Salter January 23, 2014 at 15:32 - Reply

    We should be very skeptical about the safety claims about GMOs, especially as they refuse to conduct any long term testing, and when any independent long term testing is done it is ignored and/or discredited. Have a look at the outrageous retraction of the Seralini study to see how corrupt this whole industry is.

    I believe, because of the money and power involved in the biotech industry, that this is the single worst threat to human health we have ever seen – because the damage is done slowly. Like the metaphorical frog in a pot of water slowly being heated up – they will lie about it all the while it is profitable.

    • A concerned citizen January 25, 2014 at 17:26 - Reply

      David Salter you are spot on. You only need to look at America’s declining health to see that there is a big problem. This is the first generation of children that are sicker than their parents and are expected to have a shorter life expectancy. All since the introduction of unlabeled GMOs in to the food supply. Yet without a label in the US, there is no traceability, no accountability and no liability. And that’s just the way they like it. EU: please do not allow the US to push toxic GMOs on you. Stand strong and keep them out! Say no to US bullying. NO TTIP!

  2. Tessa January 23, 2014 at 21:53 - Reply


    “A few times a year – we don’t know exactly how often – 52 people meet in a room in London. We think they meet in the Guildhall. While most ordinary people know nothing about these meetings, the British government is fully up to speed. The people who attend these meetings work for organizations from China, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the US as well as Britain. We can be sure that they are very well paid……”

  3. David R.(Canada) January 27, 2014 at 02:01 - Reply

    What is going to save Europe from being poisoned by GMOs is the enforced labelling of the GMOs in the food.

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