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Title: Consequences of Commercial GMO Cultivation in the US
Publication date: March 08, 2013
Posting date: March 08, 2013


Dear friends and colleagues,

Re: Consequences of commercial GMO cultivation in the US

A new report examining the consequences of GMOs since they were introduced 30 years ago has made a series of recommendations for the future handling of GMOs in the EU. The report examined the negative consequences for farmers, seed markets, non-genetically engineered products, consumers and the environment of 20 years of commercial GMO cultivation in the US.

The report was commissioned by a member of the Green Group in the European Parliament and published in English by the Institute for Independent Impact Assessment in Biotechnology (Testbiotech).

The report recommends:

1. Refraining from commercial cultivation of herbicide resistant or insecticide- producing plants in the EU.

2. That the question of whether plants can be withdrawn again once released should be crucial when considering applications for commercial cultivation.

3. Implementing preventative measures to protect seeds from contamination to secure long-term non- genetically engineered production.

4. Substantially raising the standard of requirements for risk assessment.

5. Intensifying monitoring of long-term effects on health and the environment.

6. Pressing ahead with the labelling of products derived from animals fed with genetically engineered plants to enable a stronger differentiation of the markets.

7. Setting effective limits to the patenting of seeds.

8. Encouraging more research into alternatives in conventional breeding.

The full report is available at:

We reproduce the press release below.

With best wishes,

Third World Network

131 Jalan Macalister

10400 Penang



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30 years of genetically engineered plants - Consequences of commercial growing in the US

Test Biotech, 1 Feb 2013

Munich/Berlin - Today in Berlin a new report was published presenting a critical assessment of the consequences of the commercial cultivation of genetically engineered plants in the US. The first genetically engineered plants were created 30 years ago in Europe and the US. Commercial growing in the USA began almost 20 years ago, but in the EU, acceptance of these crops is much lower. Nevertheless, companies are asking for further authorisations for cultivation, including in the EU. In the light of this development, past experience in the USA was assessed and recommendations made for the future handling of this technology in the EU. Some of the principal findings are:

Consequences for farmers

Because the weeds have adapted to the cultivation of the genetically engineered plants, farmers are experiencing a substantial increase in both working hours and the amounts of herbicide they require. Cultivation of insecticide-producing plants have led to “an arms race in the field” against the pest insects, which have adapted quickly. Genetically engineered plants have been created to produce up to six different toxins. Costs for seeds have increased dramatically, without there being a substantial increase in yields or significant savings in the amounts of spray required.

Impact on the seed market

The seed industry in the USA is largely dominated by agrochemical industries such as Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta. In future, it has to be expected that developments in the USA will be strongly influenced by the interests of agro-chemical companies pushing for the cultivation of genetically engineered plants.

Consequences for producers who avoid genetically engineered crops

Contamination with non-authorised genetically engineered plants has already caused billions of dollars worth of damage in the USA.

Consequences for consumers

Consumers are exposed to a whole range of risks regarding unintended substances from plant metabolism, from residues from complementary herbicides and from the properties of additional proteins produced in the plants. As yet, there is no way of monitoring the actual effects that consumption of these products might have.

Effects on the environment

The cultivation of genetically engineered plants is closely associated with a substantial increase in the amounts of herbicide required. In addition, there is also an increase in environmental exposure to certain insecticides. In particular, the cultivation of herbicide-resistant plants leads to a reduction in biodiversity. Genetically engineered rapeseed has already managed to escape from the fields into the environment from where it cannot be withdrawn, and from where it evades any adequate control.

The study was commissioned by Martin Häusling, Member of the Green Group in the European Parliament. The English version of the study is published by Testbiotech.


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