Press releases

  1. 11 Apr 2007

    The European Commission wants to put a special focus on innovation, research, market development and the debate with society on ethical issues in the field of biotechnology. In a mid-term review of the Strategy on Life Sciences and Biotechnology 2002 – 2010, presented today by President Barroso and Commissioners Verheugen and Potocnik, a refocus of actions has been proposed to promote a competitive and sustainable European knowledge based Bio-Economy. Competitiveness can be ensured by the promotion of research and market development, innovation programmes, societal debates, sustainable development of agriculture and better implementation of legislation. Life sciences and biotechnology offer the prospects of new and renewable bio resources, lower energy and water consumption, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and reduced dependence on petroleum. They also play a growing role in the discovery and development of new medicines, advanced therapies, diagnostics and vaccines. Biotechnology as a scientific technique has existed for more than 5000 years. It was first used in foodstuffs, such as bread, cheese, wine and beer. Modern applications of biotechnology include the production of enzymes, used in very practical day to day products like washing powder, or the creation of bio-plastics, which degrade considerably quicker than conventional plastics, thereby reducing waste. Biotechnology is also used to develop new life-saving medicines and medical devices. New applications are being developed all the time and Europe should be at the forefront of these developments.

  2. 10 Sep 2008

    The European Commission's Joint Research Centre has released a new study entitled "Scientific and technical contribution to the development of an overall health strategy in the area of GMOs". The study assesses the current state of knowledge in this field and defines areas for possible improvement. It was carried out on the request of the European Parliament with Directorate-General SANCO (Health & Consumer Protection) as the lead European Commission Service. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and a panel of twenty international experts also inputted.

  3. 27 Sep 2010

    A report presented today by Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli to the Agriculture Council concludes that specific measures relating to storing and the application of isolation distances can help limit or avoid the co-mingling of genetically modified (GM) maize with conventional and organic maize. In particular, the Best Practice Document, prepared by the European Coexistence Bureau (ECoB) and published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), notes that storing seeds adequately and applying spatial isolation are the best ways to limit or avoid co-mingling. Alternative practices based on temporal isolation (shifting flowering times of GM and non-GM fields) are possible in several EU countries with specific climatic conditions.

  4. 3 Sep 2009

    The number of commercialised genetically modified (GM) crops in the world is foreseen to multiply by four from about 30 today to over 120 in 2015. This is the forecast presented in the report "The global pipeline of new GM crops: implications of asynchronous approval for international trade", recently published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). It compiles a list of new GM crops to be commercialised and analyses their possible impact on international trade. Their increasing number may cause trade disruptions due to their asynchronous approval.

  5. 24 Jun 2008

    The Joint Research Centre's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies has today, 24 June, 2008 released the results of a face-to-face survey with 402 maize farmers in Spain - the largest EU producer (75,148 hectares) followed by France (21,174), the Czech Republic (5,000), Portugal (4,199), Germany (2,685), Slovakia (900) and Romania (350).

  6. 10 Nov 2010

    A new Reference Report published today by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) lists 79 reference methods for GMO analysis which have been validated according to international standards. This Compendium, developed jointly by the European Union Reference Laboratory for Genetically Modified Food and Feed (EU-RL GMFF) and the European Network of GMO Laboratories (ENGL), presents the technical state of the art in GMO detection methods. Each method is described in a user-friendly way, facilitating the implementation of GMO legislation by official control bodies.

  7. 27 May 2011

    Low-cost catfish fillets sold as expensive sole fillets or cod caught in the North Sea but declared as originating from the Baltic Sea are both examples of types of fraud in the fisheries sector. A European Commission report published today shows how molecular technologies - based on genetics, genomics, chemistry and forensics - can provide clear answers to questions such as "what species does this fish product come from….where was this fish caught….is it wild or farmed?". The report by the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), is called "Deterring illegal activities in the fisheries sector" and shows how these technologies can help in the fight against illegal practices and support traceability- including of processed products such as canned fish - "from ocean to fork".