How do agribusiness corporations impact decisions on our food system?
The relicensing procedure for one of the world's most widely used herbicides
Companies who make the pesticide glyphosate refuse to disclose key scientific evidence about its possible risks in the name of trade secrets protection. CEO appeals to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to disclose all the possible original elements of three key scientific studies it used in assessing glyphosate as “unlikely” to cause cancer to humans. We also call MEPs to reject the Trade Secrets Directive in the April 2016 plenary vote on the final text.
The voice of the Dutch Government has been loud and clear in Brussels on the issue of cisgenic plants. The Dutch have waged a sustained campaign to have new GM techniques – and in particular cisgenesis – excluded from EU GMO regulations. Several Dutch ministries, the Dutch Parliament, the Dutch Permanent Representation in Brussels, and Dutch MEPs have energetically pursued this goal.
More than 80 per cent of the national experts involved in the EU's official assessment of glyphosate refused to have their names disclosed to the public.
“If you like greenwashing clap your hands”
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. [UPDATED on 30 11 2015 16.30 CET]
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.
A TTIP and farming-themed tour of Brussels' EU district.
On 17 April, Via Campesina, the D190-20 Alliance and Corporate Europe Observatory held a lobby tour around the Brussels European quarter, highlighting the corporate lobbies who are pushing an aggressive agenda around TTIP (the EU-US trade deal currently being negotiated). There was a particular emphasis on the impacts TTIP will have, if passed, for farmers' livelihoods, food standards, and for the way food is produced in the EU. The next negotiation round will take place on 20 April, this time in New York.
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