EFSA meets the four Member States presently involved in carrying out GMO environmental risk assessments

Experts from France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands met with environmental expert members of the GMO Environmental Risk Assessment Working Group of the European Food Safety Authority’s GMO Panel on 30th January 2007. At the meeting, they shared experiences on the environmental risk assessments of specific GMO applications for cultivation. In particular, they discussed the evaluation of data presented in the applications and the risk assessment of herbicide tolerant and insect resistant GM crops. EU GMO legislation provides a framework for co-operation between EFSA and Member States in GMO environmental risk assessment. Within this framework, these four countries have volunteered to carry out the initial environmental risk assessments of GM plants which will form the basis of the final environmental risk assessment of EFSA’s GMO Panel.

During the meeting, participants discussed the evaluation of data presented in the applications and the risk assessment of herbicide tolerant and insect resistant GM crops. Member States also shared individual risk assessment experiences from specific GMO applications. The aim of the meeting was to discuss a common approach with Member States in carrying out environmental risk assessments in line with EFSA’s GM guidance document. This will ultimately help the GMO Panel in carrying out the final EU risk assessment and provide clear and transparent information for the public. In addition, EFSA holds regular bilateral meetings with the Member States involved in the initial risk assessment of specific applications.

Dr Jeremy Sweet, Vice-Chair of the EFSA GMO Panel and Chair of the GMO Environmental Working Group said: “We shared some very useful experiences in environmental risk assessment for the applications for cultivation of GM crops in Europe. Participants welcomed the initiative and agreed that common environmental risk assessment and data interpretation methodologies will assist all parties involved and further add to the consistency of environmental risk assessment.”

In addition to this initiative with competent authorities, an EFSA colloquium will be held in June 2007 on GMO Environmental Risk Assessment involving environmental experts from across Europe.

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