In time for EU enlargement on 1 May and in light of the tough new GMO rules enforced in mid-April, twenty-four national enforcement laboratories from the accession countries last week became part of the European Network of Genetically Modified Organisms' Laboratories (ENGL).
The 24 laboratories, which previously had the status of observers, have joined the network, coordinated by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC ), writes CORDIS . A centre aimed at managing the detection, identification and quantification of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food and feed in Europe.
Under the new EU regulations on GM food and feed, the JRC has been given the role of managing the detection methods and their validation. This means that all applications for GM food or feed must go through the JRC, who will test the product, making sure the detection methods are accurate and effective.
"We are committed to ensuring the full respect of EU legislation when it comes to GM plants and their derived food and feed products," explained Philippe Busquin, the European Research Commissioner. "EU legislation requires a case-by-case assessment of all GM food or feed applications based on scientific evidence. Providing a harmonised GMO detection system across Europe will provide consumers with greater choice and accuracy in selecting food products and boost the competitiveness of EU biotech companies."
The aim of the ENGL, which, including the new additions, counts 71 control laboratories across Europe as its members, is to create a standardised detection system for GMOs through a platform of scientists, who will be encouraged to exchange information and develop a common European strategy.
"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," said the Commission in a recent statement.