The use of existing environmental networks for the post-market monitoring of GM crop cultivation in the EU


Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, , 2014, 16 (7), 1754 – 1763

G. Smets,  E. Alcalde, D. Andres , D. Carron , P. Delzenne , A. Heise, G. Legris , M. Martinez Parrilla , J. Verhaert , C. Wandelt , M. Ilegems and P. Rüdelsheim 

The European Union (EU) Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment requires that both Case-Specific Monitoring (CSM) and General Surveillance (GS) are considered as post-market implementing measures. Whereas CSM is directed to monitor potential adverse effects of GMOs or their use identified in the environmental risk assessment, GS aims to detect un-intended adverse effects of GMOs or their use on human and animal health or the environment. Guidance documents on the monitoring of genetically modified (GM) plants from the Commission and EFSA clarify that, as appropriate, GS can make use of established routine surveillance practices. Networks involved in routine surveillance offer recognised expertise in a particular domain and are designed to collect information on important environmental aspects over a large geographical area. However, as the suitability of existing monitoring networks to provide relevant data for monitoring impacts of GMOs is not known, plant biotechnology companies developed an approach to describe the processes and criteria that will be used for selecting and evaluating existing monitoring systems. In this paper, the availability of existing monitoring networks for this purpose is evaluated. By cataloguing the existing environmental monitoring networks in the EU, it can be concluded that they can only be used, in the context of GMO cultivation monitoring, as secondary tools to collect baseline information.