GMOs: Politics, Citizens & Ethics

Portraits, tribunes et commentaires sur l'information citoyenne sur les OGM et les pesticides

Corinne Lepage demands a deep reform of expertise on GMOs - July 13th

Thursday 15 July 2010



John Dalli, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, has visited the European Parliament on Tuesday 13 July, Corinne Lepage has demanded a deep reform of expertise on GMOs.



As it stands, the Commission's proposal is unacceptable, says Corinne Lepage, as it does not give Member States any solid legal basis to prohibit some GMOs. The Commission's policy aiming at imposing GMO cultivation to Europe has failed, and Mr Barroso will not suppress the scientific controversy nor the accusations of conducting a laxist on GMOs by making promises to make small arrangements. 



Reforming European expertise is the only way to move the GMO debate forward, and EFSA direction declared itself open to experimenting new processes. The selection of EFSA GMO panel members should reflect all scientific views, not only industry's approach to health and environment risk evaluation. Pluralism, pluridisciplminarity and contradictory debates are the keys to a unbiased expertise process, that identifies risks and uncertainties. 


The EFSA GMO panel has been criticised by NGOs and biosafety experts for its bias in favor of GMOs and its use of selective quotations of scientific articles, aiming at putting aside elements showing a potential risks or scientific uncertainties.


John Dalli has presented on Tuesday to the Parliament Mr Barroso's proposal aiming at allowing Member States to ban on their territory the cultivation of GMOs authorised at the EU level.

Corinne Lepage, vice-president of the Environment committee, has committed to organise a debate between scientists from EFSA and scientists critical of the risk evaluation methodology used by the EFSA GMO panel.


Europe Lowers its Guard on GMOs

Friday 4 July 2008

Brussels wants to turn a blind eye to small contaminations from banned transgenic organisms, despite the uncertainties on health and the environment, according to Ouest France, 27 June 2008. 

The sight of maize cargos consigned in harbours, because of a contamination from banned GMOs, should soon be part of the past. At least, that is what the European Commission would like to see happen. 

The Commission is convinced that it impossible to disrupt whole areas of the agricultural economy just for simple traces of transgenic organisms. Even if their impact on health and the environment have not yet been assessed.

The Commission intends to propose “before the Summer”, to the countries in the European Union, “a purely technical solution” to avoid the repetition of such situations. This is what is suggested by an inside note at the Commission. 


Portrait of Christian Velot in Le Monde

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Portrait of Christian Vélot on 15 May 2008 in Le Monde entitled: "Christian Vélot Profession : lanceur d'alerte"


[Download the original article in French]

Yes, Monsieur Barnier, Let’s Really Talk About GMOs

Thursday 13 September 2007

Opinion column published in Le Figaro on Saturday 18 August 2007

This is a response to Michel Barnier (who is, this is just a reminder, the Minister of Agriculture and not Ecology or Health) is pleading, in a recent article published in Le Figaro, for a pacified debate on GMOs and on the necessity of continuing research, otherwise the United-States and China might take a definite lead over Europe! 

While the first two assertions may be agreed to, it ought to be underlined that Monsanto already owns more than 75 % of patents (on GMOs) in the world, and as a consequence, we have fallen a long way behind anyway. But are we really behind? 

Well, if we are talking about plants that are herbicide and/or pesticide tolerant, well yes, certainly. But is this really that bad? Can growing such plants be part of a sustainable development approach? One can doubt it for three different reasons: 

The destruction of biodiversity, the impact on human health and the necessity in the medium term to have recourse to infinitely more powerful pesticides to destroy undesirable shoots of these hyper resistant plants. 

Consequently, the choice of crops of that type might turn out to be devastating for those who have made it, convinced as they were of an increase in productivity that will turn out to be a delusion. 


GMOs: A State Secret? – or State Secrecy? October 2005

Monday 29 January 2007

The deafening silence that surrounded the AFP wire that made public the Note of the French Government demanding industrial secrecy on the studies questioning the health impact of GMOs is absolutely outrageous, in more ways than one. 

Chronicle by Corinne Lepage - 12.10.2005

The deafening silence that surrounded the AFP wire that made public the Note of the French Government demanding industrial secrecy on the studies questioning the health impact of GMOs is certainly a matter of concern. It is in fact a double scandal. 


Firstly, the unscrupulous attitude of the French Government — in a Note sent to the European Commission — asking for a modification of article 25 of Directive 2001-18 on GMOs. This article excludes any industrial secrecy in the case when studies on health and the environment are concerned. The purpose of this was to forbid any scientific controversy on studies highlighting significant effects on rats.


Secondly, the media coverage of the Note: except for UFC Que Choisir, Novethic and Actu-Environnement, no conveyor of information published this piece of news which could have been considered doubly interesting from the point of view of the political behaviour of the Government and from the point of view of the potential effects of GMOs on health. If there are no effects, why then hide the studies at all costs and then open a contradictory debate on these studies?