Published: May 27, 2023

Category: GMO News

Environmentalists, scientists, and unprotected agricultural communities across California were pleased this May when the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced the withdrawal of a permit for a mass release of genetically engineered mosquitoes in the Central Valley.

The biotech corporation Oxitec won’t be releasing billions of the GM insects in Tulare County without sufficient review and lacking a current set of regulations. Scientists and experts had pressured the company to disclose data critical for assessing risks to humans, wildlife, and vulnerable ecosystems.

Assemblymember Laura Friedman said that “there are too many unknown factors when it comes to how (GE mosquitoes) could affect our biodiversity in the long run, including how this might influence populations of birds, bats, fish species, and other insects.”

Nan Wisher with the California Environmental Health Initiative says this is an opportunity for agriculture officials to craft meaningful regulations complying with the California Environmental Quality Act, regarding release of any genetically engineered animal.

Angel Garcia, co-director of Californians for Pesticide Reform and a Tulare County resident, cites environmental justice concerns—his county has severe pollution problems, he noted, and deserves prior informed consent before exposure to an open-air biopesticide experiment.

Source: Center for Food Safety

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