Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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EU's Zero Tolerance on GM under fire

A recent draft Commission proposal to change the legislation governing genetically modified (GM) foods and feeds has revealed that the Commission is giving in to a long-standing combined demand from the biotech, food and animal feed industry to break down the so-called ‘zero-tolerance policy’ regarding contamination with non-authorised GM food and feed. This policy means that imported food and feed stuffs are not allowed to contain even the smallest amount of genetically modified material (referred to as genetically modified organisms or GMOs) that has not been approved for sale in the European Union.

This article examines evidence from the feed industry which shows how they distorted the facts and exaggerated the impacts as part of their lobby campaign to get rid of zero tolerance.

Read the full article here


Monsanto and the pesticide industry breathed a collective sigh of relief on 12 November 2015. The findings of an investigation into the toxicity of glyphosate by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and EU Member States were in stark contradiction to the March 2015 conclusion by the International Agency for Research against Cancer (IARC), a body of the World Health Organization (WHO), that this agricultural herbicide was probably causing cancer to humans. If validated, this conclusion could cause a partial ban of glyphosate in the EU.

In closing her investigation into DG AGRI's 'Expert Groups', the European Ombudsman has called for more transparency as well as structural measures to ensure groups are more balanced.
An often asked question is whether TTIP will weaken Europe's rules over genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Meanwhile, the biotech industry is pushing for the products of the 'next generation' biotech crops to escape the EU's legislation on GMOs and therefore to go unregulated. Is there a link between this new push, and TTIP? Emails obtained via a Freedom of Information request show this might indeed be the case.
Crispr/Cas9, oligodirected mutagenesis, zinc finger nuclease… Those names are a few of a longer list of new techniques of biotechnologies (NTB) for which the European Union is still to decide whether their products are falling under the scope of the EU GMO legislation or not. After having consulted with scientists experts, legal services and some member states, the European Commission has promised it will release a document before the end of 2015. If any were expecting this document to be discussed with the European Parliament and all the Member states, they had it wrong as the European Commission will not contact them, contrarily to what was announced in the first place... In january, an open letter from associations and unions to the European Commission stated that all the new techniques of biotechnology should be considered as giving rise to GMOs falling under the scope of the EU legislation.

Big corporations are taking a strong interest in this years Climate Negotiations in Paris - COP21. But what lies behind the glossy publications and impressive business events ?

An overview of CEO's activities in Paris

A new guide to lobbying and greenwashing around the UN climate talks

'Lobby Planet Paris'' maps the big corporations, lobby groups and trade associations that are trying hard to capture the climate talks

Capturing COP21 - Corporate influence and the UN climate summit in Paris

The corporate lobby tour

Stop the Crop

Alternative Trade Mandate