Court orders Monsanto to make scandal report public

Press release - 10 June, 2005
A German law court in Cologne/Germany today ordered biotechnology giant Monsanto to make one of it's 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 referringto an EU-law which states that the public has the right to have insightin 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 anattempt to try to stymie the publishing of the document. Greenpeacejoined sides with the German government in the case and with today'sorder 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 nowthe document can be a subject to independent investigations," saidGreenpeace International campaigner Christoph Then.

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

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

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

Other contacts: Christoph Then, GE campaigner, Greenpeace International, mobile: +49 171 878 0832

Notes: (1) Independent On Sunday, 22 April 2005.