Commissioner Dalli gave false testimony concerning long-term tests on GMOs - lawyer
Commissioner Dalli gave false testimony concerning long-term tests on GMOs
During a hearing conducted by the European Parliament on 12 January 2011 on the safety assessments of GMOs, Commissioner Dalli was asked why the EFSA/EU-Commission don't conduct the long term tests, which are explicitly prescribed by European law (deliberate release directive, food and feed regulation). Mr. Dalli answered, the conducting of long term tests "is not a commission function, but member state function".
This statement is false. According to the food/feed regulation 1829/2003, the safety assessment is the sole responsibility of the EU. Member States don't have any say on that. The only task member states have during the authorisation process for GMOs is to accept the dossiers and forward them to EFSA. They even don´t have the competence to request more information (like for instance information on long term effects). This is clearly laid down in art. 5 (2) a (food) and art. 17 (2) a (feed). So contrary to Mr. Dalli it is "the function" of the EU and not of the Member States to request information on long term effects.
Dalli then continued: "I want to have all the facts, because I feel the responsibility for the people". According to Annex II of the deliberate release directive 2001/18, which according to art. 5 (5) a, 17 (5) a is applicable within the food/feed regulation, "long-term effects" on health and environment have to be conducted. So Mr. Dalli is required by law to request long term tests. What long term tests have to be like, is defined by european environmental law: rat feeding tests of at least 360 days including blood tests. So if Dalli "wants to have all the facts" (i.e. long-term tests), why doesn't he request those facts? He is the only competent authority in the EU who has the right to demand this.
So when Mr. Dalli gave the impression, that it allegedly was the "default" [failure to act] of the member states and not of EFSA/Commission not to request the legally required long term tests, he misled the public. Why he did that, still has to be determined. But there are only two explanations: Either he wanted to dodge the issue who is responsible for long-term tests (Member States or EU)and pass the buck to the member states or he is completely unaware of the regulatory system on GMOs in Europe. Both alternatives don´t seem very trustworthy.
Dr. Christoph Palme, legal advisor, court action gmos (Aktion Genklage) Germany, www.stopptgennahrungsmittel.de
Dr. iur. Christoph Palme
Wissenschaftliche Beratung Umweltrecht
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