From Corinne Lepage, President of CRIIGEN to:
Paris, Fall 2004
Subject: List of Risks to be investigated in relation to GMOs – OPEN LETTER
We refer here to an open letter we sent you on 27 July 2001, by which we drew your attention on the risks of GMOs which were already known to exist at the time, in such a manner that it excludes the possibility for you to refer to the development risk exclusion clause in the future in any way, with a view to release yourselves from your responsibility in the contamination of seeds and non-GMO fields, on the one hand, and relative to human health, on the other hand, in the unfortunate event that such negative effects would appear.
As a matter of fact, in the existing state of knowledge at the time of the letter, the potential negative effects on health and the environment were sufficiently known for you to assume totally the inherent risk related to your technology. For your perfect information and for the record, you will find enclosed a copy of the letter you had received at the time. Please note that none of the elements envisaged at the time was contradicted by the knowledge acquired since then.
Since then, and within the framework of Directive 2001/18, the first studies you conducted seem to highlight significant effects on rat populations that consumed genetically modified organisms.
It is correct that the latter studies, which you refused to reveal, in violation of the dispositions of the European Community legislation, to the citizens and thus to your clients, have been brought to the knowledge of the Publics Authorities, who seem to have chosen, for some of them, to be in a state of denial of any kind of problem, due to an intense lobbying effort on your part.
However it is just as true that, as producers, you are perfectly informed of the potential dangers concealed in your products, and therefore completely responsible for the potential consequences of the latter, notwithstanding any authorization from the Public Authorities, whatever it may be.
We would particularly like to draw your attention to the fact that since the European Parliament and Council Directive 2004/35 of 21 April 2004 only pertains to the environmental responsibility, and not to the public health responsibility, you would not be able to refer to the provisions of article 8.4 which enable the Member States to allow the operator not to bear the cost of remedial actions taken pursuant to this Directive, if they demonstrate that they were not at fault or negligent and that the environmental damage was caused by:
(a) An emission or event expressly authorised by, and fully in accordance with the conditions of, an authorisation conferred by or given under applicable national laws and regulations which implement those legislative measures adopted by the Community specified in Annex III, as applied at the date of the emission or event;
(b) An emission or activity or any manner of using a product in the course of an activity, which the operator can demonstrate was not considered likely to cause environmental damage according to the state of scientific and technical knowledge at the time when the emission was released or the activity took place.
Indeed, in relation to the first point, all the conditions linked to the authorization are not fulfilled, in the sense that the studies you are withholding remain confidential, and will not be subject to regular information of the public as provisioned by the Community Directive, and furthermore for the reasons that were already pointed out to you in 2001, it goes without saying that according to the state of scientific and technical knowledge of the time when your activity takes place, it is not possible for you to pretend that your activity cannot be considered likely to cause any damage.