GMO: EU General Court strengthens the precautionary principle
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Last week the General Court of the European Union confirmed the right of civil society organisations to submit legal cases concerning the health risks of genetically engineered plants.
The case was prompted by market authorisation being issued for the import of genetically engineered soybeans produced by US companies Monsanto and DuPont/ Pioneer which, according to analysis undertaken by the German GMO critical initiative Testbiotech and other experts, have not been adequately investigated for health risks.
The EU Commission wanted to prevent Testbiotech from initiating a legal revision of a decision allowing the import of these genetically engineered soybeans. In response, Testbiotech filed a precedent case at the General Court of the European Union to gain access to justice (T-33/16). The Court confirmed the rights of Testbiotech last Wednesday.
Important step towards strengthening the precautionary principle
“The EU Commission has allowed the import of genetically engineered soybeans despite concerns about the risks to human health. In addition, the Commission tried to prevent the Court from re-examining the approval,” says Christoph Then for Testbiotech. “The decision today is an important step towards strengthening the precautionary principle in the EU.”
In May 2015, Testbiotech together with GeneWatch UK, filed a complaint against the authorisation issued for the import of genetically engineered soybeans that are changed in their oil quality. The EU Commission exceeded the legally defined time-frame for its response by more than a month. Then, in its answer, the Commission claimed that according to the relevant EU Regulation 1367/2006 only risks concerning the environment could be reviewed, but not the risks to human health. Today this legal interpretation was rejected by the General Court of the European Union.
Testbiotech has filed two other cases at the EU court against imports of genetically engineered soybeans. One of these is against genetically engineered soybeans developed by Monsanto that produce insecticidal proteins.
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