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Producing Drugs in an Open Transgenic Maize Field: June 2005

Thursday 11 January 2007
Le CRII GEN a décidé de saisir le Tribunal Administratif de Clermont Ferrand contre une décision du Ministère de l’Agriculture datée du 27 avril 2005 autorisant la demande de projet de la société Meristem Therapeutics sur la dissémination volontaire dans l’environnement de maïs génétiquement modifié en vue de produire de la lipase gastrique du chien. Le CRII GEN dénonce non pas la production de la lipase gastrique à partir d’OGM mais la production en milieu ouvert. Il souhaiterait par conséquent rappeler que les Etats Unis viennent précisément de limiter cette pratique à la suite d’un accident qui s’est produit en 2002 alors que la société Prodigène contaminait 500.000 tonnes de soja par mélange avec un maïs OGM produisant un vaccin porcin. La France n’a pas transcrit la directive 2001/18 concernant les expérimentations d’OGM en plein champ qui met en place un principe de précaution, pas fait d’études sur le milieu récepteur de l’OGM, et pas développé de méthode de traçabilité disponible pour savoir si un maïs alimentaire est contaminé ou non par ce médicament non homologué à base d’enzyme de chien.

 

Réponse à la mise en cause du CRII GEN par Le Déaut : Mai 2005

Thursday 11 January 2007

To avoid having to answer questions asked by CRIIGEN on the health risks of GMOs and on the toxicity of the Roundup included in a large number of GMOs, M. Le Déaut prefers trying to question CRIIGEN’s independence on the grounds that we might have received funds from Carrefour Group. Beside the pathetic and overused character of this procedure, repeating the behaviour of those who tried to conceal the dangers of asbestos and other dangerous products, it goes without saying that CRIIGEN, which is formed by totally independent experts from the GMO lobby, is a recognized expertal body. This is the reason why CRIIGEN conducted studies on behalf of Carrefour and Auchan, as well as on behalf the Italian and Quebecker governments, the Biosafety Committee of China, the University of Montreal, the Tunisian and Egyptian Universities, the Directorate-General for Agriculture of the European Commission and several professional unions in the food-processing industry and in agriculture. The fact that M. Le Déaut is trying to present CRIIGEN in an ill-intentioned and truncated manner clearly demonstrates, if it were needed, that the work accomplished by CRIIGEN to make the GMO studies transparent is clearly disturbing him and that his report, which had been exposed by CRIIGEN on the grounds of the method used even before the content was revealed is solely written in the defence of GMOs. We would very much like that the transparent approach displayed by CRIIGEN where the addressees of the studies are concerned should be applied by all the experts who expressed themselves in the Parliamentary Mission.

 

CADA Orders the Removal of the Secret Status on Studies Conducted on Rats Fed on GMOs: May 2005

Thursday 11 January 2007
For a number of months, CRIIGEN has had to fight so that the studies highlighting significant effects on health for rats fed on GMOs should be made public. First, the French Ministry of Agriculture refused yielding, giving as a pretext the secrecy of the proceedings of the government, then, as a second excuse, a case of industrial secrecy. The case was submitted to CADA (French Commission for the Access to Administrative Documents) by CRIIGEN, and CADA ordered the release of the studies on rats fed on Bt11 in conformity with Directive 2001-18, and that there could be no confidentiality status in relation to effects on human health and the environment. As far as other GMOs are concerned, for which the initial authorization applications were not submitted in France, CADA estimated that the French Government was linked to the decisions of the states were the decision was originally made. As a consequence, CADA suggested that CRIIGEN should directly refer the case to the European Commission, which we did straight away on April 12. However CADA indicated that all the studies and analyses conducted in France on the same GMOs had to be divulged, so CRIIGEN referred the case to the Ministry of Agriculture one more time. This is a major victory against GMO manufacturers, who, with the diligent help of the Government, are trying at all costs to avoid a real scientific debate on the effects of GMOs on human health, despite the fact such effects are revealed by their own studies.



Concerns Over the Report of the Le Déaut Mission: May 2005

Thursday 11 January 2007

 

At CRII-GEN we were somewhat disappointed by the lack of objectivity and impartiality displayed in the methods of some of the leaders of the Parliamentary Mission on GMOs, starting with its President, Jean-Yves Le Déaut. This shortcoming emerged not only when the President took a public stance, without any nuance, in a journal published by the seed manufacturers promoting GMOs, during the mission, but also when he smeared the personalities before their hearing by the commission and when he tried to put aside those with potentially disturbing questions. Furthermore, this continued after the hearings to try to reduce the scope of the criticism formulated on the assessment of GMOs. In fact, essential and topical questions were completely ignored: 

- Inability of the public authorities to organise precise traceability methods for experimental GMOs, which would make it possible to follow disseminations up, and therefore implement the necessary measures to isolate the GMOs in question as requested by the government.

- Inability to develop transparency and counter-evaluation for tests on human health, ignoring the conclusions that need to be drawn from significant metabolic problems for rats,

- The debate on Roundup was totally ignored! Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the world, along with the food GMOs that were designed to tolerate it. This was done during the session, by distributing a report going over Monsanto’s data and signed by an author who is not even a toxicologist, but who has been involved in the lax assessment of GMOs.

Such practices make it very difficult for the members of the mission to build their own objective opinion on such a controversial and complex topic. Therefore, the risk of distortion of the information is even far greater with Members of Parliament who are not members of the commission who were assigned this work. 

PS: The attachments corresponding to the letters that attest the facts mentioned above are available upon request.

 

The Effects of GMOs on Human Health are Poorly Evaluated

Thursday 11 January 2007
CRIIGEN is exposing the importing of a GMO Maize, poorly assessed in terms of human health. On 26 October, the European Commission has decided to authorize the importing of the Monsanto Roundup-tolerant GMO Maize NK 603 for human consumption and it is likely to contain Roundup. Eleven Member States out of twenty-five seemingly approved the decision last summer, including France. And yet, for example for France, the decision was based on the advice of the Commission of Biomolecular Engineering (CGB). During the proceedings, as much as fifty significant differences were observed in the health of rats consuming this GMO over a period of 13 weeks, according to the company applying for the commercialization authorizations and conducting the above experiment. However, such differences have been deemed “without toxicological meaning” by an expert who is the only person to have had the dossier in his hands, except for the President of the said Commission who sent this opinion in a great rush during the holiday in August and who only informed CGB in September. Such simplified procedures could lead to ratify misinterpretations and to underestimate the effects described in the dossiers. But similar misinterpretations could also well have taken place at a European level, where the decision procedures of scientists remain unclear. Monsanto published a paper in a scientific journal, claiming there were no problems involved, but without stating the actual levels of the Roundup contained in the GMO maize that may cause health problems in the medium- and long-term. CRIIGEN, an independent committee of counter expertise and debate on genetic engineering, encountered great difficulty in making public the proceedings that were covered by industrial and government secrecy (Le Monde, 23/4/2004). We had to appeal to the French Commission for the Access to Administrative Documents. Actually, it turns out with such issues that it is in fact the level of requirement for accuracy or the level of laxity of a handful of scientists which will decide on the interpretation of tests conducted by the same company which makes the release of this GMO maize both profitable and possible. It is high time to put into practice the highest scientific and honesty standards along with the ethical requirements and counter-expertise necessary for what is going to be one of the major transformations of the world: using genetic engineering makes it possible nowadays to artificially modify the genetic inheritance of the living beings that surround us. Such potentialities ought to be reserved for improving the living conditions of humans after deep reflection on the consequences, rather than serve mere immediate commercial interests.

Poor Control Over GMOs: May 2004

Thursday 11 January 2007
CRIIGEN is not an organization fighting GMOs, but an organization advocating for a better control of GMOs, which is quite different. CRIIGEN, the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering, is often quoted for disapproving the use of GMOs in the environment. Whereas a number of us do think that GMOs could be a useful tool for studying genes and their role, and producing interesting substances in a closed environment, agricultural GMOs seem to us to be poorly controlled and essentially at the service of an intensive type of agriculture that uses pesticides, while taking hostage more respectful types of agriculture for the environment, human health and society in general. Furthermore, the present promises have more to do with advertising than with science, and most of the time, they are not kept. Finally the question of experimenting in open fields must be raised. Such experiments must be, in our view, secondary to experiments in greenhouses and with the specific genetic characterizations that are missing most of the time. They need to be supervised by scientists and not only by industrials, which is the case for most. In short, such experiments ought to be conducted in a sealed-up environment, especially in relation to insects. We have many reasons to think that the present assessment rules on the risk of GMOs for human health and the environment, both from an objective and predictive point of view, are not properly implemented. The Scientific Council of CRIIGEN is composed of independent experts and not of activists www.crii-gen.org

The Use of GMOs Increases the Use of Pesticides

Thursday 11 January 2007
Les statistiques internationales 2003 des OGM cultivés commercialement, dans l'environnement, montrent clairement que tous les OGM développés ont comme caractère transgénique soit la tolérance à un herbicide, soit la production d'un insecticide directement par la plante, soit les deux. Les OGM en attente d'autorisation en Europe correspondent aussi à ces caractères. Les autres propriétés revendiquées des OGM restent dans le domaine de la recherche depuis vingt ans. Or, selon un rapport de Charles Benbrook détaillant les données américaines de L'UDSA, l'utilisation de pesticides sur OGM a dépassé de plus de 30 milliers de tonnes celle sur cultures conventionnelles au cours des trois dernières années, notamment à cause de la recrudescence des adventices les moins sensibles aux herbicides. Les risques sur la santé des pesticides associés aux OGM demeurent encore à étudier, et le CRII GEN assure une mission d'expertise critique indépendante dans ce domaine. Il demande des tests de toxicité sur animaux, de plusieurs mois et standardisés, avant toute consommation humaine, qui restent à fournir au public pour les OGM en attente d'autorisation en Europe, avant de pouvoir évoquer la levée du moratoire.

http://www.biotech-info.net/technicalpaper6.html

Corinne Lepage à Caen : Avril 2004

Thursday 11 January 2007
“Modern Risks and the Precautionary Principle as a Principle of Action and Management”.

Corinne Lepage will explain how trustworthy politics ought satisfy safety and precautionary requirements for critical questions such as the deterioration of climate, biodiversity, agriculture and arable land which promote famine, health risks as well as ethical risks in relation to food and biotechnologies, as well as crucial legal issues. Corinne Lepage, who is a lawyer and a former Environment Minister, is a passionate advocate of noble causes for citizens and for the planet. She is also, among other things, the President of the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN), an organization advocating a better control of GMOs throughout the world. She will sign copies of her most recent books for the public of the InterAges University, and give a conference on Monday, 24 June from 2:30 pm in the Marie de Clèves Lecture Theater, Vissol Building, Campus 1, in the centre of Caen.

CADA’s decision in favour of CRIIGEN: February 2004

Thursday 11 January 2007
The French Commission for the Access to Administrative Documents has approved CRIIGEN’s demand for the release of the detailed proceedings of the Commission of Biomolecular Engineering on the assessment of GMOs. The only type of information that can be legally concealed has to be related to industrial, commercial or private life secrets.

Press Release of the Commission of Biomolecular Engineering: October 2003

Thursday 11 January 2007
On Friday 17 November 2003, the President of the Commission of Biomolecular Engineering (CGB) [Ministries of Agriculture and Ecology] is organising a press conference to comment on the progress report for 2002, without the members of CGB being officially invited. This is a concern, as such an attitude undermines “transparency”, in a context where there was no consensus to lower the quorum of the said Commission. There has not been any hearing, in the monthly meetings of the Commission, of the representatives of the organizations for the protection of the environment for almost three years and almost two years have passed since a representative of the consumer associations took part in the vote. Yet, the President could have reacted after people had been absent three times in a row without justification and the Ministries do have the capability of finding citizens who are interested in the topic of GMOs. Whereas such positions are statutory, the proceedings of the reduced-CGB could be considered as not being legally acceptable. Besides, two meetings below the quorum in the same month are equal to one decisional meeting. Finally, the “transparency” does not prevail, the proceedings of the meetings have become confidential, whereas the President was hoping, in the foreword of his progress reports, “to offer the greatest transparency (...) on the proceedings of the meetings" in 1998 and the “public” proceedings in 1999. Could the jealously kept secrets of corporations have any bearing on the discussions about the necessity of conducting transparent and open toxicity tests of genetically modified organisms on rats and cattle, prior to the commercialization of GMOs?