Ensuring the safety of biotech crops

01.01.2008

Ensuring the safety of biotech crops

Unlike many consumer products available on the market today, in Europe as in elsewhere in the world, food, feed, fibre and fuel products made with the help of modern biotechnology need to be authorized before they can be commercialized.

Indeed all biotech (or genetically modified) plants used for food or food ingredients, feed, fibre and fuel, mustundergo a rigorous review of their safety as part of the authorization procedure before they can be put on the market.

In the EU, this task is carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). EFSA has a panel of independent scientific experts that cooperates closely with national authorities of all Member States in analyzing the safety of the products. This panel ensures that the highest standards of safety are applied when testing new biotech crops. Only products that have been assessed as safe are allowed to reach the market.

For this simple but important reason, more than 200 billion meals containing biotech ingredients have been eaten over the last 10 years by hundreds of millions of people without one health incident having been identified. The French Academies of Medicine, Pharmacy and Sciences stated: “No evidence of health problems exist in the countries where GMOs have been widely eaten for several years”, an opinion endorsed by academies of science and medical councils around the world. Robust scientific evaluation systems, as required by law, will continue to ensure that this is the case in the future.