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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

Leaked WTO Report Fails to Make a Decision on GM Safety

Immediate release (28 Feb 2006)

Calls to Carrie Stebbings on 0207 837 0642 and Pete Riley 07903 341 065

The leaked report published by Friends of the Earth Europe [1] today shows that the US’s WTO complaint against the European Union’s GM moratorium [2] has failed to resolve the debate on the testing and safety of GM crops.

The 1000 plus page WTO report does not make a judgment on the human, animal and environmental safety of GM crops or on the system of safety assessment based on GM crops being equivalent to non-GM crops.

The report only criticises the EU for undue delays on approving some GM crops and some EU member states for failure to adopt WTO risk assessment procedures before banning some GM crop imports. Several US complaints were dismissed and no action against the EU was recommended in the report.

Carrie Stebbings of GM Freeze said:

The US has failed to get a judgment that would force the EU to change its GM policies and regulations. Having failed to get a favourable judgment, it has resorted to spin, in an attempt to intimidate the rest of the world in to accepting GM crops. The debate on GM safety and science is still unresolved and the US only gained favourable judgments on narrow procedural points.

After three years and millions of pounds the WTO has shown itself to be incapable addressing the dispute over GM. Countries around the world should resist US attempts to bully them and should be free to adopt a cautious approach to GM. The role of the WTO in dealing with complex issues cutting across scientific, technical and socio-economic fields needs to be challenged by governments and civil society across the world – very few issues can be boiled down to trade factors only.


Calls to Carrie Stebbings on 0207 837 0642 and Pete Riley 07903 341 065.

[1] You can download the Panel findings here or see
[2] The de facto moratorium ran from 1999 to 2004.