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[SANET-MG] claims that Bt10 and Bt11 are genetically identical are misleading
For over 10 years it has been clear that Bt10 and Bt11 are not
identical. Isogenic maize with Bt10 compared to Bt11 shows that Bt10
produces many times less toxin than does Bt11. In fact, farmers who
plant the low toxin Bt10 are much more likely to cause insect resistance
than those planting high toxin Bt11. The information below provides
further evidence that Bt10 and Bt11 are genetically different.The
response of the corporation and of FDA seems to be misleading the public
to prevent collapse of the GM corn export market.
Re: Unintended import and environmental release of Syngenta Bt10
Dear Commissioners Kyprianou, Dimas and Fischer Boel,
We are writing to urgently seek further information about the
unintended import and environmental release of Syngenta's unapproved
maize, Bt10. We understand from press reports and from Syngenta
themselves that there have been environmental releases of this maize in
Europe although it has no licence, even for experimental purposes.
We therefore seek further clarification and information with regard to:
1. Where have such releases taken place, by whom and when?
2. What measures are the Commission taking to prevent any further
releases of Bt10?
3. What actions will the Commission take against those parties involved
in any illegal environmental release?
According to Syngenta the incident started in 2001 and was only
discovered by accident last year. This raises serious questions about
the EU's own surveillance and monitoring. Why was this not picked up
previously? We would urge the Commission to hold an urgent review to
investigate why the EU's own systems have clearly failed and to bring
forward proposals to ensure such accidents are prevented in the future.
The Commission has stated to the press that the Bt10 is "genetically
the same as Bt-11 which is already approved in the EU". We would ask
you to review the accuracy of this statement and we urge you to release
to the public information that supports it. There is very little public
information about Bt10, but the UK's Advisory Committee on Releases to
the Environment notes that Bt10 contains one or more copies of the
ampicillin resistance marker gene (beta lactamase), which is not
present in Bt11 . This therefore makes Bt10 a very different GMO
than Bt11. Since ampicillin is a widely used clinical antibiotic, and
EFSA, Codex Alimentarius, FAO-WHO and many medical and scientific
experts have recommended against the use of genes for such antibiotics
in GM foods, it would certainly not be licenced in the EU.
We would like to remind you that only foods and feeds that have been
approved are allowed to be marketed or imported into the EU. There has
therefore been a clear breach of the law and urge you to take this
seriously and ensure that guilty parties are made responsible.
Considering the urgency of this matter we ask you to reply to the
questions above as soon as possible.
Adrian Bebb, Friends of the Earth Europe
Notifier: Syngenta seeds SAS
Notification reference: C/F/96/05/10
Product: Maize genetically modified for insect resistance and
herbicide tolerance, transformation event Bt11.
Scope: For the import and use of grain varieties derived from
maize transformation event Bt11, and conventional
hybrids, as for any other maize including cultivation.
Date: 11 September 2003
"Advice of the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE)
The experiment designed to confirm that the antibiotic resistance marker
(amp) is absent from Bt 11 (Appendix 3) uses DNA from line Bt10 as a
positive control, demonstrating the ability to detect the amp sequence
under the conditions of the experiment. However, the copy number of
the amp gene in line Bt10 is not determined, so the value of this positive
control is limited. The Committee requests further data supporting the
use of DNA from line Bt10 as a positive control."
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