Now you see it, now you don’t: How EFSA and BfR reached a different decision than the IARC Working Group on glyphosate.
Presentation by CSS member Prof. Dr. Christopher Portier, Senior Collaborating Scientist with the Environmental defense Fund and former member of numerous WHO/IARC scientific committees.
Civil society organisations ask to revoke MON810 authorisation
- Bt crops
The wild ancestor of commercial maize, teosinte, has been detected in Aragon, Catalonia and Navarra, Spain and is spreading as an invasive species in maize growing areas. In one region where growing maize is the main source of income for farmers, the teosinte population has already reached such a high density, that the local governments has issued and enacted a ban on maize cultivation to prevent teosinte from spreading further.
Since in Spain the transgenic maize MON810 is grown on more than 100’000 hectares, it is feared that teosinte could interbreed with MON810, potentially resulting in an invasive transgenic teosinte species. If the hybrids between MON810 and teosinte inherit the insect resistant trait from MON810 they are likely to show higher fitness compared to the native teosinte plants, thereby increasing the invasive potential.
The fact that maize has no wild relatives in Europe to cross and interbreed with, was an important precondition for allowing genetically modified maize to be cultivated in the EU. Thirteen civil society organisations have now asked the EU Commission and the Spanish government to ban the cultivation of MON810 in 2016.
IG Saatgut Tagung
Neue Molekulare Techniken in der Pflanzenzüchtung:
Neue Herausforderungen für die gentechnikfreie Saatgutarbeit
19. April 2016
Anthroposophisches Zentrum, Kassel
Programm und Ablauf: hier
CSS Christmas meet and greet
Friday, December 18
CHN P12, Universitätsstrasse 16, 8092 Zürich
Internal CSS meeting & Welcome by the Chair.
Presentation by CSS member Prof. Dr. Christopher Portier, Senior Collaborating Scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund and former member of numerous WHO/IARC scientific committees including the one that declared Glyphosate a 'probable carcinogen to humans'.
Questions & Discussion, followed by a Christmas Apéro.
In November, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans”.
The EFSA decision, based on the Renewal Assessment Report provided by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung BfR), ran counter to the finding earlier this year by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) working group, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans". The IARC review linked glyphosate to dose-related increases in malignant tumours at multiple anatomical sites in experimental animals and to an increased incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in exposed humans.
Subsequently to the EFSA decision about 100 international scientists wrote an open letter to the European Health and Food Safety Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, strongly challenging the EFSA’s decision and the BfR report that it was based on. Corresponding author of the letter is Prof. Dr. Christopher Portier, who has contributed to the development of cancer risk assessment guidelines for national and international governments and agencies and was invited as specialist to the WHO IARC assessment of glyphosate.
On December 18, Dr. Portier discussed the major differences in the risks assessments conducted by the IARC working group, BfR and EFSA and the underlying regulations and mandates of the different evaluation bodies that ultimately led to the contradicting conclusions about the carcinogenicity of glyphosate.
2015 Whistleblower Award
Prof. Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini received Whistleblower Award 2015 for public disclosure of risks to life and health
On October 16, the Federation of German Scientists (VDW) and the German Section of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) present the 2015 Whistleblower Award equally to the molecular biologists Prof. Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini from the University of Caen (Normandy, France) and the former US drone pilot Brandon Bryant.
In 2012, Prof. Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini and colleagues published a long-term feeding study with rats, showing toxic and carcinogenic effects of the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup and genetically engineered Roundup tolerant maize, in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (Elsevier). Subsequently the publication was highly criticised and attacked and ultimately led Elsevier to withdraw the paper on grounds of "inconclusiveness". This meant that the data was no longer to be cited. According to the Committee on Publication Ethids (COPE) this procedure violates the international publishing ethics: Withdrawing papers and the data they contain is only justifiedin cases of severe offences such as demonstrable falsification or manipulation, "honest error" or plagiarsm. In 2014, another peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Sciences Europe (Springer) re-published the paper.
- All Speeches, pictures and videos from the 2015 Whistleblower Award can be found here.
- Laudatory speech for Prof. Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini held by Christine von Weizsäcker (in German)
- Dr. Otto Jäckel about the one-sided reporting by the media regarding Séralini (in German
Exhibition & Conference
Artistic Research into Environmental Issues
Co-curated by Boris Magrini and Jill Scott
Scientific advisor: Angelika Hilbeck
27. November 2015 - 23. March 2016
Monday to Friday, 11.00 - 19.00
ETH Zurich, Institute of Integrative Biology,
CHN Building, Green Floor, Universitätstrasse 16
Friday, 27. November 2015, 17:00
Models of Diversity
Current Transdiscourses in Art,
Science and Social Issues
Day one - 19. February 2016
ETH Zurichm Institute of Integrative Biology,
CHN Building, Lecture Hall C14, Universitätstrasse 16,
Day two - 20. February 2016
Zurich University of the Arts, ZHdK Toni Areal,
Room: 5.K12, Pfingstweidstrasse 96
Zwischen Fairtrade und Profit
Wer sät, der erntet - oder doch nicht?
Authors: Fausta Borsani, Thomas Gröbly
Book presentation and Discussion
Monday, 23. November 2015, 19.30
Miller's, Seefeldstrasse 225, Zürich-Tiefenbrunnen