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15 Jul 2016

News: Josep Maria Cascuberta explains, in Radio Euskadi, the role of the EFSA on the risk assessment of transgenic foods

Golden rice and common rice

Golden rice and common rice

On the occasion of the recent news related to the social debate about GM crops (the letter signed by 110 Nobel Prizes asking Greenpeace to stop their campaign against GM foods and the explosive package addressed to a researcher from the EFSA’s GMO), the science divulgation radio program La mecánica del Caracol hasinterviewed the CSIC researcher at CRAG, Josep Maria Casacuberta.


Casacuberta, who since 2005 collaborates with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and since last year is vice-chair of the panel of the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), has explained in the Radio Euskadi program, what the EFSA is and how it works. The CRAG researcher has detailed that the EFSA operates independently of the legislative and executive institutions in Europe providing independent scientific advice, in the case of the GMO panel, on the risks associated with the cultivation and consumption of GMOs. The Panel Members, such as JM Casacuberta, are selected based on their academic curriculum and after a thorough analysis of possible conflicts of interest, links with industry, etc.


The scientist insisted that EFSA does a purely scientific risk analysis: "there is a clear separation between the risk analysis, which is scientific, and the decision to manage this risk (whether adopt a GM), which is a political question that take the political bodies designated for this purpose". Casacuberta explained that EFSA evaluates a lot of scientific data regarding the composition of new GM products, their ability to generate allergies and their effects on the environment, among others, and have never found evidence that a genetically modified food is less secure than the corresponding conventional. "The reason for non-approval is more political than scientific," clarified the researcher.


Casacuberta thinks that "we should separate very well when it comes to the risk when it comes to political, ethical and social choices, which have their own space for discussion and have their perfectly valid arguments to defend themselves" and insists that is not legitimate to use false arguments regarding health and environmental risks of GMOs.


You can listen to the entire program here (in spanish)