Bt11

Bt11, a GM Bt and herbicide-tolerant maize owned by Syngenta, produces the Bt toxin Cry1Ab against lepidopteran pests (moths and butterflies), mainly European corn borer (ECB, Ostrinia nubilalis) and Mediterranean stem borer (MCB, Sesamia nonagrioides). In addition, Bt11 is herbicide-tolerant against the glufosinate-ammonium (BASTA, Liberty).In its application for cultivation in the EU, Syngenta claims that Bt11 will not be marketed for its herbicide tolerance, but in other countries, such as the USA and Canada, the maize is marketed for both GM traits.
In October 2007, the EU Environmental Commissioner Dimas proposed to reject the application. The EU Commission has taken no decision yet but referred it back to the EFSA who in Oktober 2008 once again gave a positive opinion.

The EU Commission has put forward draft decisions to approve of the two GM maize events Bt11 and 1507 for cultivation in the EU. Last year, Environmental Commissioner Dimas still had proposed not to not approve of them, but neither his colleagues nor the EFSA wanted to follow his reasoning.
The next meeting of the EU biotech committee is scheduled for 16 February and it is expected that the GM maize cultivation will be put on the agenda then.

An assessment of statements and decisions by the EU Commission shows that the EU Commission repeatedly points to the independence of the EFSA instead of taking up the responsibility to assess and control the work of the EFSA. So far the Commission usually hides behind the EFSA opinions and in practice even leaves the power to take decisions to the EFSA even though this is in contradiction to the EU regulation. In other cases however, like the cultivation of Bt11, 1507 maize and Amflora, at least some parts of the EU Commission disagree with the EFSA opinion.

Christoph Then & Antje Lorch. Study for Hiltrud Breyer (MEP) Bündnis 90/Die Grnen. December 2008.

Die Auswertung von Stellungnahmen und Entscheidungen der EU-Kommission führt vor Augen, dass die EU-Kommission sich mit Verweis auf die Unabhängigkeit der EFSA ihrer Aufgabe entzogen hat, klare Vorgaben für deren Arbeit zu machen, die EFSA-Angaben zu prüfen und zu kontrollieren. Sie hat sich bisher hinter den Gutachten der EFSA versteckt und im Endeffekt Entscheidungsgewalt auf die EU-Lebensmitelbehörde verlagert, obwohl dies laut entsprechenden EU-Vorschriften nicht möglich ist. In einigen Fälle jedoch, z.B.

Christoph Then & Antje Lorch, 2008. Studie im Auftrag von Hiltrud Breyer, MEP, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen.

[img_assist|nid=225|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]On Wednesday, 7 May 2008, the EU Commission refered three GM crops back to the EFSA: the GM starch potato Amflora and the two Bt maize events Bt11 and 1507. Environmental Commissioner Dimas had already announced earlier that he would propose to reject the two Bt maize.

[img_assist|nid=107|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=150|height=65]For the first time the EU Environmental Commissioner Dimas proposed to reject applications for the cultivation of GMOs. The crops in question are the two Bt maize events Bt11 (Syngenta) and 1507 maize (Pioneer HiBred/Dow).

[img_assist|nid=107|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]For the first time the EU Environmental Commissioner Dimas proposed to reject applications for the cultivation of GMOs. The crops in question are the two Bt maize events Bt11 (Syngenta) and 1507 maize (Pioneer HiBred/Dow).

[img_assist|nid=175|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=43]This new report, written on behalf of Greenpeace, shows that no serious investigation was conducted on the effects of Bt11 maize on the environment and on animals feeding on it. Why does EFSA accepts a notification that lacks so much information, and why does it discard the existing scientific literature?

A. Lorch, Greenpeace Report, September 2005