Court orders Monsanto to make secret MON863 report public (10/6/2005)

Court orders Monsanto to make scandal report public
Environmental Media Services
Source: Greenpeace International
Jun 10, 2005

Amsterdam/Cologne, 10 June 2005 - A German law court in Cologne/Germany today ordered biotechnology giant Monsanto to make one of its confidential reports public after the company tried to prevent the dissemination of its own study. The 1000-page document is in the center of international attention after its results were exposed by the British newspaper Independent On Sunday (1).

Greenpeace have asked for access to the document in Germany referring to an EU-law which states that the public has the right to have insight in all documents related to risk assessement of genetically modified (GM) plants.

After the German state authorities endorsed the access, Monsanto filed a court case against the government of Germany in an attempt to try to stymie the publishing of the document. Greenpeace joined sides with the German government in the case and with today's order the original study should be open for insight by the public.

"This is a important success - both for Greenpeace and for the people. The strategy of secrecy and intransparency of Monsanto failed, and now the document can be a subject to independent investigations," said Greenpeace International campaigner Christoph Then.

The aforesaid rat feeding study found "significant" effects in the blood and organs of the rats fed on the GM maize MON863. A number of scientists across Europe who have already seen the study expressed concerns about the health and safety implications of this GM corn. Monsanto does not put in question that there were significant health effects in the rats, but claims that these were not caused by the GM maize. But according to the opinion of several experts the explanations of Monsanto are not sufficient to put down recent concerns.

On the 24th of June the Council of EU ministers will decide on the market authorisation for import and use of MON863 in our food. It is almost impossible to evaluate Monsanto's over 1000-page study on the health effects until that date; in particular because Monsanto is expected to file a further appeal against the recent decision, which could result in further delay in the publication of the documents.

"EU member states should set a clear signal in the interest of their people and should reject the application of the GM maize. Otherwise the maize corn could be permitted by the EU Commission without any further consultation or votings - and that could have serious consequences," - said Then.

For more information:
Christoph Then, GE campaigner, Greenpeace International, mobile: +49 171 878 0832
Judit L. Kalovits, media officer, Greenpeace International, mobile: +31 621 296 914

(1) Independent On Sunday, 22 April 2005.

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