Monsanto secures ruling from EU's top court on GMO soybeans

The EU's top court has dismissed an appeal from three German NGOs who were seeking to annul a 2012 decision by the European Commission to approve imports of modified soybeans developed by Monsanto.

The lobbyists claimed that there was not enough scientific research conducted to prove the safety of the modified soybeans when the decision was taken

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice ruled Thursday in line with an earlier judgment by the European General Court - thus rejecting the appeal - and added that the authorisation of imports of modified soybeans was legal.

Furthermore, the ECJ did not request a more detailed investigation of risks and a result, a further appeal is not possible.

"We welcome the judgment by the European Court of Justice on the appeal filed by three German NGOs," said Holger Elfes, a spokesperson with German chemical conglomerate Bayer that now owns Monsanto.

"The European Commission authorized EU imports (GMO) soybeans in 2012, following an extensive scientific evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), to ensure that it poses to no risk to human and animal health, and the environment," Elfes added.

EU scientists have confirmed multiple times that GMO soybeans are as safe for humans, animals, and the environment as their non-modified counterparts, yet suspicion remains among the wider public.

"There is no doubt that so far, the EU did not apply the necessary scrutiny to the approval process of genetically engineered plants," Christoph Then, executive director at one of the three NGOs, said in response to Thursday's ruling.

Soybean seeds produced by Monsanto have been genetically-modified to make them resilient to Roundup - the commercial name of the herbicide glyphosate - and dubbed Roundup-Ready seeds, allowing farmers to reduce soil tillage practices, while at the same time kill weeds easily and cheaply.

Such GMO beans are predominantly grown in the Americas where over 95% of planted soybeans are Roundup-Ready but yet the widescale farming of GMO crops within the European Union is not allowed under current regulations.

Source: AgriCensus