EU Court Tosses Challenge of GMO Soybeans

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(CN) – The European General Court on Thursday blocked efforts by three groups opposed to genetically modified products to get EU regulators to reconsider a decision approving Monsanto’s modified soybeans for human consumption.

Following the European Food Safety Authority’s finding that genetically modified soybeans are as safe as conventional ones for human use, the European Commission in 2012 approved Monsanto’s request to market the products.

Three German groups opposed to GMOs asked the commission to review its decision, arguing that toxicological and immunological risks – particularly with the use of GMO soybeans in infant formula – had not been adequately studied. The commission rejected the groups’ request in 2013, calling the concerns unfounded.

The groups sued, seeking a court-ordered review by the commission. But the EU’s lower court on Thursday declined to intervene, finding the groups had improperly challenged the legality of the commission’s approval of GMO soybeans rather than limiting its arguments to the commission’s refusal of their request as required by EU law.

Furthermore, the Luxembourg-based court said the groups did not prove the commission failed in its duty to conduct an adequate risk assessment of the modified soybeans or that Monsanto had provided inadequate data for the commission to study.

Despite their numerous arguments, the groups did not raise serious enough doubts about the commission’s findings that there is no real difference between conventional and GMO soybeans or the adequacy of its assessment of potential toxicity and allergenic risk, the court said.

The groups have 60 days to lodge an appeal with the European Court of Justice.