Risk assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: Scientific achievements, challenges and perspectives of the European Food Safety Authority: Taking stock of the 10 years activities and looking ahead
EFSA’s remit in the risk assessment of GMOs is very broad encompassing genetically modified plants, microorganisms and animals and assessing their safety for humans, animals and the environment. The legal frame for GMOs is set by Directive 2001/18/EC on their release into the environment, and Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 on GM food and feed. The main focus of EFSA’s GMO Panel and GMO Unit lies in the evaluation of the scientific risk assessment of new applications for market authorisation of GMOs, and in the development of corresponding guidelines for the applicants. The EFSA GMO Panel has elaborated comprehensive guidance documents on GM plants, GM microorganisms and GM animals, as well as on specific aspects of risk assessment such as the selection of comparators. EFSA also provides special scientific advice upon request of the European Commission; examples are post-market environmental monitoring of GMOs, and consideration of potential risks of new plant breeding techniques. The GMO Panel regularly reviews its guidance documents in the light of experience gained with the evaluation of applications, technological progress in breeding technologies and scientific developments in the diverse areas of risk assessment.