GMOs, Monitoring: EU expands genetic 'radar' to new Member States in 2004
The enlargement of the Europe Union has involved a lot of
complicated logistics. Shortly before the historic day on 1 May, the ten new Member States became
part of an EU-wide network for the detection of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
On 1 May, the European Union embraced 75 million
new citizens in ten countries in its biggest enlargement ever.
Nearly half a billion Europeans in 25 nations have chosen
to extend the borders of Europe further than they have ever
EU expansion was already a reality in some sectors even earlier.
At the end of April, 24 national enforcement laboratories
in the 10 acceding countries joined the European Network of
Genetically Modified Organisms Laboratories (ENGL), bringing
its total membership to 71 labs.
“Providing a harmonised GMO detection system across
Europe will provide consumers with greater choice and accuracy
in selecting food products and will boost the competitiveness
of EU biotech companies,” observed European Research
Commissioner Philippe Busquin. “We are committed to
ensuring the full respect of EU legislation when it comes
to GM plants and their derived food and feed products.”
Underwriting consumer choice
Coordinated by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre
(JRC), the ENGL’s mission is to enforce new EU labelling
and traceability legislation. They will assist the JRC in
establishing a harmonised system for tracing GMOs.
“An enlarged ENGL will greatly improve the network’s
ability to detect and screen GMOs and provide a sound scientific
basis for enforcing biotechnology legislation,” read
a Commission statement.
In addition to ensuring the safety of food products, the ENGL
also helps underwrite consumer choice between GM and non-GM
Last month, tough new Union legislation on the labelling and
traceability of GMOs entered into force to ensure the ‘co-existence’
of GM, conventional and organic foods. The rules mean that
any food containing more than 0.9% GMOs has to be clearly
labelled as such. For the first time, the new regime covers
animal feed, as well as food destined for human consumption.
The new rules also state that GMOs must be traceable throughout
the entire production and distribution process. This obliges
seed and crop producers to inform any purchaser of the presence
The new legislation named the JRC as the ‘Community
Reference Laboratory’ (CRL) with the role of coordinating
the validation of detection methods. Applications for GM food
or feed can now only be granted if the CRL decides that the
applicant's methods are accurate and effective in detecting
GMOs in food and feed samples.
Source: EU sources
of new regulation in the Official Journal [
- 118 Kb]