The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) brings together independent scientific expertise to develop public-good knowledge for the critical assessment of existing and emerging technologies.

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Open letter to heads of state on Trade Secrets Protection

The EU is about to create a new directive for "the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure". This directive will protect the co-called 'confidential business information', but will stifle investigations into potential hazards or risks to human health, the environment or society related to such information. Especially scientific investigations in which such information may play a role may be intimidated or prevented. In fact, the directive will greatly expand the scope for prosecuting whistleblowers, including journalists and scientists. The draft directive has surprisingly been accepted by the European Parliament and will now be subject to the final vote by Member States on May 25, 2016. On May 13, Corporate Europe Observatory therefore wrote an open letter, co-signed by 51 other civil society organisations including ENSSER, to EU heads of state and government, urging for significant amendments to the directive before its approval and for the introduction of specific EU legislation on the protection of whistleblowers.


Maize ancestor teosinte found in Spain and France: transgenic maize authorisation should be rescinded

Thirteen civil society organisations have alerted the European Commission to the fact that teosinte, the wild ancestor of maize from Mexico, has been growing as an invasive weed in Spain and France for a number of years. This fact could have far reaching consequences, for the absence of wild relatives with which a genetically modified crop could cross is an important condition for the latter's authorisation. Maize has always been thought to have no wild relatives in Europe. Thus, the CSOs demand that the authorisation of GM maize MON810 for cultivation is immediately withdrawn.

Press release of the thirteen CSOs

Letter of the thirteen CSOs to the EC




Press Release from Corporate Europe Observatory

Biotech industry lobby intent on ransack of EU GMO rules

Food safety, the environment, and consumer choice are at stake, as biotech industry lobbyists pressure decision makers to deregulate a new generation of genetic engineering techniques ahead of a crucial European Commission decision in February.

“Biotech lobby’s push for new GMOs to escape regulation”, a new report by Corporate Europe Observatory, shows how industry has been pushing for the deregulation of new GM techniques despite widespread consumer rejection of GMOs and the absence of sound legal and technical reasoning.

After eight years of deliberation, the Commission will take a key decision next month on whether a new generation of genetic engineering techniques will continue to be regulated or bypass Europe’s hard-won GM laws. The 'New Breeding Techniques Platform' has acted as industry's lobbying vehicle to get its agenda across. Yet the claims made by the NBT Platform and other industry actors in favour of the deregulation agenda, have been debunked by various independent legal analyses and reports, as is summarised in CEO's study.

Case studies highlight how Canada-based Cibus - a company that develops new GM crops - has attempted to sidestep the European policy process to get its products into the Europeans’ food supply unregulated. Meanwhile Dutch ministries, the Dutch Parliament, the Dutch Permanent Representation in Brussels, and Dutch MEPs have lobbied to have another of the new techniques (cisgenesis) excluded from EU GMO regulations, as detailed in the report.

“Big biotech and seed companies have invested in techniques designed to circumvent the EU's GMO regulations, and in recent years have ramped up their lobbying for deregulation of new techniques. Deregulation means GM products could enter the food chain and the environment without having to meet the EU's regulatory requirements. In other words, they would be untested, untraceable, unlabeled and - crucially for industry - patented. This is a clear and dangerous push for corporate control of the food chain,” says author of the report and CEO campaigner Nina Holland.

Read the report here:


Two case studies:



All documents referred to in the report and case studies are directly available in the footnotes.



Am 1.12.2015 hat ENSSER mit der Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (VDW) das Post-Neonikotinoid-Symposium im Festsaal der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin veranstaltet.

Bitte finden Sie hier das Programm sowie die Vorträge der Redner.


On 1st of December ENSSER together with the Federation of German Scientists conducted the Post-Neonicotinoid Symposium at Festsaal der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany.

Please find the German program and the presentations of the speakers in the links.


Comments on EFSA Draft Strategy 2020 by Prof. Erik Millstone (University of Sussex)

Comments on EFSA Draft Strategy 2020 by Prof. Erik Millstone (University of Sussex).



#scienceVlobbying - public conference

The conference Science vs. Lobbying - how to escape regulatory capture? took place in Brussels 22-23 September. Please find here relevant information to the program and here a link to all videos of the conference.


ENSSER and other organisations demand glyphosate ban by EU

ENSSER and forty-six other organisations today send an open letter to EU Commissioner for Health & Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, demanding a robust and credible scientific assessment of the carcinogenicity of the popular herbicidal substance glyphosate. Because of the existing disagreement on its carcinogenicity, however, the organisations also demand an immediate ban on the use of glyphosate from the precautionary perspective which the EU supports.

The International Agency for the Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” after a peer review of the scientific evidence about its safety. In the EU, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is at present also carrying out a peer review of the scientific evidence about the safety of glyphosate. However, EFSA's starting point is an assessment prepared by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), which stated that glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans”. This striking difference prompted the organisations writing to Andriukaitis to compare the scientific standard of the two assessments. In the letter, the organisations point out that on a number of points the scientific rigour and reliability of BfR's assessment are significantly below that applied by IARC. For example, relevant peer-reviewed published scientific studies have been ignored in the BfR review. The organisations  therefore ask the commissioner to ensure that EFSA applies rigorous scientific standards, including the use of published studies only, in its review of the glyphosate assessment. However, they also point out that when different scientific bodies come to different conclusions about the carcinogenic nature of glyphosate, it is already the obligation of the European Commission to invoke the precautionary principle. This means banning the use of glyphosate where it results in the greatest public and worker exposure, at least until sufficient scientific agreement is achieved about the (un)safety of the herbicidal substance. Over 1.4 million citizens have also, through a separate Avaaz petition, demanded a precautionary ban on glyphosate use from Commissioner Andriukaitis.

Find here the letter to Commissioner Andriukaitis







How can inefficient, poorly managed smallholder systems be transformed into productive agroecological systems? And how can environmentally destructive, energy and chemical-intensive industrial systems be converted into productive agroecological systems? What role does international trade play in today’s agro-food systems, and are short supply chains relevant? This brochure explains many reasons why change is needed, based on strong science to underpin the arguments. At the same time, the authors make recommendations for the transformation of the global industrial agro-food system, highlight the main needs for further research and describe impediments to the progress of agroecology.


The focus is on small-scale farmers who, all over the world, are prone to food insecurity, but who nevertheless feed more than 80% of the world’s population. Many of these farmers are located in what we often call the developing world, but we should make no mistake: change is needed in developed and developing countries alike. Food insecurity in today’s world results from a globally dysfunctional agro-food system that is failing to meet the needs of many people in both developing and developed countries. There is an urgent need for a transition from the existing agro-food systems to sustainable agroecological systems. This brochure provides a platform to a number of experts working in various fields relevant to these issues. It gives them space in which to share their visions and voice their concerns about how we are feeding the people of the world.



Whistleblower Award for Séralini

French molecular biologist and ENSSER member Gilles-Eric Séralini will receive the 2015 Whistleblower Award for exposing the health risks of the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup along with insufficient toxicological standards. Although his research was met with fierce criticism often delivered in an unacceptable ad-hominem attack style, he never resorted to similar tactics and steadfastly responded with more research and publications. He receives the award jointly with the former US drone pilot Brandon Bryant and the German-French physicist Léon Gruenbaum (the latter posthumously). The Whistleblower Award is presented biannually by the Federation of German Scientists (VDW) and the German Section of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA).

Find here the reasoning of the jury

Find here the laudatio by Christine von Weizsäcker (in German)

Find here the speech by Gilles-Eric Séralini (in English)





GMO free Regions Conference 2015

ENSSER organised four workshops at the conference “GMO-FREE EUROPE – Future Opportunities and Challenges” in Berlin from May 6 to 8 2015. This conference was organised by the European GMO-free Regions Network, the NGO network GMO-free Europe and the Danube Soya Association. It drew participants from political circles, economists, scientists and civil society from all over Europe, as well as guests from America, Asia and Africa who discussed the chances of a future agriculture without genetically modified plants and animals.

On the website of the conference all presentations and reports of the workshops have been uploaded.



“No scientific consensus on GMO safety” statement published in peer-reviewed journal

A statement signed by over 300 scientists and legal experts to the effect that there is “No consensus” on the safety of genetically modified (GM) crops and foods has been published in a peer-reviewed open access journal, Environmental Sciences Europe.  It now belongs to the body of open peer-reviewed scientific literature and stands as a citable publication.

View the Press Release

View the final published statement at Environmental Sciences Europe

View the abstract and the statement published at Environmental Sciences Europe

View the statement in Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish

View the signatories to the statement as of January 20 2015



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