John Dalli Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy European Commission Brussels Belgium
1st May 2012
Dear Commissioner Dalli,
Request for an urgent EFSA reappraisal of all GM soy consents
You will recall that we wrote to you on 29 November last year to complain about the manner in which the EU has been "turning a blind eye" to some of the health and environmental issues associated with the use of GM soy on a substantial scale in European farming. We complained then that EFSA had recommended, and the EC had given, at least eight consents for the import and use of GM soy without making any serious assessments of the environmental and health effects of the cultivation of this GM soy in the places where it is grown and in the places where it is used. The Commission's response was predictable, simply stating that all legal requirements had been complied with.
We are now writing to draw your attention, once again, to the accumulating evidence that GM soy and Roundup / herbicide residues together cause serious health problems in the animals that come into contact with them. It makes no difference that EFSA considers GM soy to be safe and that the pesticides regulators consider Roundup to be as safe as any highly complex toxic chemical can be. It is clear to many scientists that even when used as "intended" they are NOT safe, even in very small quantities, and it is the Commission's responsibility to consider both the direct and indirect effects of using this lethal combination in the livestock industry of Europe. The evidence for this damage is more than anecdotal; it is to be found in a string of peer-reviewed scientific publications, which we and others have repeatedly brought to your attention.
We have recently published a "Danish Dossier" which we enclose with this message. We consider that this dossier is of very great importance, since it shows that in some cases at least, GM soy and Roundup residues in the animal feed supply are associated with health damage and reduced fertility in breeding sows and with deformed piglets in numbers that were never seen before the introduction of these materials into the feed chain. You might claim that this evidence from Mr Ib Borup Pedersen and Mr Sigurd Christensen is anecdotal and untested scientifically; but these two farmers do not need learned scientists to tell them that toxic effects were occurring, since a change-over to non-GM soy immediately resulted in reduced health problems, greater breeding success, lower medication costs, and increased farm profitability.
How widespread are these problems across Europe? We suspect that they occur on a very large scale, probably not very widely in Denmark but in countries where regulation is lax, hygiene standards are low, and where Roundup is used as a dessicant in farm-grown crops of barley and other cereals.
We have here prima facie evidence of a severe problem associated with the import and use of GM soy. We urge you to invoke the Precautionary Principle -- as you are required to do in the Regulations -- and to act as follows:
1. Please immediately suspend all ongoing assessments of GM soy varieties that may be in the approvals pipeline.
2. We also urge you immediately to instruct EFSA to conduct a thorough reassessment of all the GM soy consents that are currently valid, for varieties ACS-GM005-3, MON-89788-1, MON-04032-6, MON-87701-2, DP-356043-5, and AG-GM006-4 and any others that we might have missed.
3. Further, we ask you to take urgent steps to instigate an in-depth study of the causes of the toxic effects observed by Mr Pedersen and Mr Christensen so that measures can be put in place across Europe to address very serious animal welfare and human health issues. Monitoring is not enough -- a comprehensive trial must be started at once.
4. Please set up a dialogue between your officials and the scientists who have for so long been demonstrating through their studies that GM soy is damaging to the health of animals that consume it, and that Roundup / glyphosate even in very low concentrations may be triggering off chronic but measurable toxic effects in animals, causing reduced fertility, and leading to a greater and greater use of antibiotics and other medications. The bottom line, as these scientists will tell you, is increased health damage in the human population of Europe, reduced food security, and reduced farm profitability.
5. Please take steps to reduce the dependence of European farming on imported GM soy, initially by securing large-scale supplies of certified GM-free soy, and then by incentivising the planting of non-GM protein crops within Europe.
We urge you to take these suggestions seriously, since we are currently convinced that Europe is sleep-walking into a GM soy catastrophe, with a "perfect storm" of commodity price collapse, an animal welfare crisis on European farms, a collapse of confidence in the food industry, and an epidemic of health problems in the human population. We use these words advisedly; we do not believe that we are over-stating the case.
We respectfully ask you to give these matters your urgent attention, and we look forward to your early reply.
Dr Brian John GM-Free Cymru
(This letter has also been endorsed by GM Watch and GM-Free Ireland)
Antoniou M, Habib M, Howard CV, Jennings RC, Leifert C, Nodari RO, Robinson C, Fagan J. Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? Earth Open Source, 2011. http://www.scribd.com/doc/57277946/RoundupandBirthDefectsv5
GM SOY -- Sustainable? Responsible? by Michael Antoniou, Paulo Brack, Andrés Carrasco, John Fagan, Mohamed Habib, Paulo Kageyama, Carlo Leifert, Rubens Onofre Nodari, Walter Pengue 2010 GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG and ARGE Gentechnik-frei http://www.gmwatch.eu/reports/12479-reports-reports
http://www.eureporter.co/2011/10/roundup-and-birth-de/ http://www.iis.org.uk/EU_Regulators_Monsanto_Glyphosate_Toxicity.php http://www.gmwatch.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12481:reports-official-report-confirms-correlation
ISIS Report 06/10/10 Argentina's Roundup Human Tragedy Ten years of GM soy and glyphosate poisoning have escalated the rates of cancer and birth defects. Claire Robinson