A Biotech-free Parliament in Italy

Not another great example of science-based policy making in Italy.

The Italian Parliament is about to vote yet another motion that binds the Government to ask for a revision of GMO regulation in Europe, claim the application of the safeguard clause foreseen in the EU directive, and take actions against the existing cultivation of approved GMO maize Mon810.

The text of the motion is full of inconsistencies and flawed data.

It uses the Seralini paper to support the existence of new scientific evidences to be considered in order to claim the application of the safeguard clause, despite the publication has been already evaluated and dismissed by EFSA.


It supports the idea that “made in italy” and quality are incompatible with biotech in agriculture, despite the existence since 2003 of a detailed scientific document listing the unique solutions offered by biotechnologies to save 27 typical italian crops.


The motion goes on reporting the example of other European countries applying the safeguard clause, despite their applications – when evaluated by EFSA – have been already dismissed as not supported by new scientific evidence and therefore not justified.

The motion has been signed, among others, also by Drs. Ilaria Capua, an Italian scientist renown for her work on avian flu, and for releasing publicly the sequence of its virus in 2006: for this work she made it to the top50 scientists of Scientific American. Apparently her scientific background or sensitivity applies differently to biotechnologies in agriculture.

Considering that very few members of the lower Chamber have a scientific education, it certainly represents a failure of the scientific community to be represented in the decision-making processes in Italy.

The EFB – European Federation of Biotechnology, ANBI – the Italian Association of Biotechnologists and many scientists promoted messages on social media directed to MEPs with a scientific education, under the hashtag #iostoconlascienza (I stand for Science).

The keyword reached 29,370 accounts and had 41,056 impressions with just the first 50 tweets, an impressive outreach for such a topic. See the Storify.

The scientific associations and the Facebook group “Dibattito Scienza” have addressed letters to the MPs who are about to pass the motion, with a strong appeal to vote against.

The result by lunch time will confirm or not what Italy stands for, as far as innovation, sustainable development and bioeconomy are concerned.