ANTI-GM PRESSURE group Friends of the Earth has accused the European Food Safety Authority – the EU‘s primary risk assessment body – of bias when it comes to approving GM crops.

In a hard hitting report published this week (w/e Dec 3), FoE criticises EFSA for its “constant position in favour of the biotechnology industry” and accuses it of having industry bias, illogical opinions and lack of precaution.

FoE notes that “virtually all the 12 opinions on GM foods produced so far have been favourable to the biotech industry, while some of the scientists on the panel have involvement with the biotech industry, appearing on promotional videos”.

“EFSA has clearly made its mind up that GM foods are safe and ignores any evidence or views that question that position,” said report co-ordinator Adrian Bebb.

But this is rebuffed by EFSA which says it subjects its panel members to rigorous scrutiny.

They all have to declare their interests, which appear on the internet. “Of course they are experts in their field and may have worked in research, but they are totally independent,” said a spokeswoman.

She also denied that EFSA ignored new evidence and opinions, pointing to the case of Monsanto‘s MON863 maize which was re-evaluated earlier this year following a request from Germany.