MONSANTO’S ROUNDUP READY SOYBEANS FACE SCRUTINY DUE TO UNKNOWN DNA
Report Calls Into Question Rigor of Monsanto’s Science, Product’s Approval
Auckland — A team of independent Belgian scientists has discovered “unknown DNA” in Monsanto’s genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” soybeans. The discovery of unrecognisable DNA segments in the company’s flagship product may necessitate a full-scale re-evaluation of its registration due to fears that the DNA may produce a novel protein. This is the second time the Belgian researchers observed troubling inaccuracies in Monsanto's description of its gene-altered soybeans.
“This report makes it clear that the company does not know with any certainty what it is creating through genetic engineering, or even how safe it is,” said Annette Cotter of Greenpeace. “How can we trust the promoters of this technology, like Monsanto, when there is clearly a lack of scientific knowledge and understanding regarding these new life forms. This re-inforces our call for the New Zealand Government to ban all releases into our environment.”
Greenpeace is calling for full disclosure of the data submitted by Monsanto in its registration process for Roundup Ready soybeans. Furthermore, the organisation is demanding that immediate steps be taken by regulatory agencies in New Zealand (ANZFA)1, U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Argentina to re-evaluate “Roundup Ready” soybeans, which were approved on the basis of inaccurate data provided by Monsanto.
“The only adequate reaction is to suspend the approval and to re-evaluate the environmental and health impacts of the GE soya” added Cotter. “This is fundamental: the accurate description of the inserted DNA and the genetic alterations of the GE soya is the very basis of any further risk- assessment.”
In Europe, the UK Government Advisory Committee on Novel Food & Processes (ACNFP) has already asked Monsanto to provide data demonstrating that the unknown DNA is “silent” and does not result in the production of a novel protein. This report is one of the first independent, peer-reviewed, scientific analyses of pivotal data submitted by a company for the approval of a gene-altered crop. In most cases, U.S. regulatory agencies choose to rely almost entirely on non peer-reviewed data submitted by the applicant companies themselves.
Since the origin and function of the DNA in question are unknown both to Monsanto and U.S. regulatory agencies, Greenpeace has published the DNA sequence on its Web site(www.greenpeace.org/~geneng/) and invites the international scientific community to help identify its nature and possible consequences.
1) ANZFA – Australia, New Zealand Food Authority
Contact: Annette Cotter 021 565 175 or Brendan Lynch 025 790 817