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9-Misc: EU seeks advice on long-term effects of GMO crops

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  EU Seeks Advice on Long-Term Effects of GMO Crops
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   30 Mar 2005

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EU Seeks Advice on Long-Term Effects of GMO Crops

BRUSSELS - The European Commission wants to know how genetically modified
(GMO) crops might affect human and animal health in the longer term,
eight years after the EU first allowed biotech crops, a document showed
on Tuesday.

In a tender published on its website, the Commission's environment unit
has advertised for interested parties to study the "potential cumulative
long-term effects" of individual groups of GMO crops, and say where more
research is required.

Only a handful of GMO crops may be grown commercially on EU territory,
mostly maize types. These crop approvals were issued in 1997 and 1998,
before the bloc began a six-year moratorium on new GMO authorisations
that ended in May 2004.

"This task should be prioritised to take account of the types of GM
plants released within the Community at the present time and those
predicted in the near future," the notice said.

Last week the Commission held its first debate on GMO policy in more than
a year, vowing to press ahead with authorising more gene-altered crops
and foods even if EU governments could not break years of deadlock over
the issue.

While new approvals are trickling in, they have so far related to
imported GMOs for use in food, animal feed and industrial processing. No
GMO crop has been won EU approval for planting since 1998.

"This study is partly about finding out where the gaps are. There are
still some things about GMOs that we don't know...but we know more about
them now than we did at the time (in 1997 and 1998)," a Commission
official told Reuters.

But green groups said the tender demonstrated how little EU research had
been conducted on the long-term effects of GMOs on human and animal
health, as well as on the environment.

"We've a huge debate (on GMOs) for eight years and in that time there
have been no long-term studies," said Adrian Bebb, GMO campaigner at
environment group Friends of the Earth.

"Consumers have been exposed to this, animals on farms have been exposed
to eating huge amounts of GM feed with no long-term study," he said. "And
they (Commission) are now admitting they haven't done the research
because they're calling a tender."

A budget of 50,000 euros, excluding tax, has been allocated for the
study. The deadline for bids is May 17.


GM effects on human and animal health and the environment - call for tenders
[Date: 2005-03-24]

The European Commission has published a call for tenders for a study on
the cumulative long-term effects of genetically modified (GM) crops on
human/animal health, and environment: risk assessment methodologies.

The objectives of this project include the following:
- collecting and collating existing information/studies demonstrating the
existence or potential for long-term effects of GM crops;
- assessing and documenting the adequacy of existing risk assessment
methodologies/protocols to account for the above effects from different
GM crops and to identify possible gaps/lack of knowledge and where
further research is required;
- developing specific methodology (e.g. Standard Operating Procedures
(SOP), checklists) in terms of risk assessment with associated risk
assessment criteria (e.g. specific indicators, etc.), for potential
cumulative long-term effects from individual groups of GM crops (e.g.
species) and for different transgenic phenotypes (e.g. herbicide
tolerance, insect tolerance). This task should be prioritised to take
account of the types of GM plants released within the Community at the
present time and those predicted for the near future;
- indicating, as appropriate, the types and extent of risk management
measures (including monitoring activities) required to address potential
long-term effects.

For further information, please contact:

European Commission
Directorate-General Environment
Unit ENV.F.2, BU-5 00/122
B-1049 Brussels
Tel: +32-2 296 0008
Fax: +32-2 299 44 49

To see the full details of the call, please consult the following web

Remarks: The deadline for requesting tender documents is 29.4.2005.
The deadline for submitting tender documents is 17.5.2005.

Before contacting the Commission, tenderers are strongly advised to
consult the original call text in the Official Journal of the European
Union at the reference below.

Category: Tender
Data Source Provider: Official Journal of the European Union
Document Reference: OJ No S 59-056364 of 24.3.2005
Subject Index : Medicine, Health; Safety; Food; Agriculture

RCN: 23573

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