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Fwd: 9-Misc: EFSA hails GM summit despite conflicts of opinion



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  EFSA hails GM summit despite conflicts of opinion
SOURCE: Food Navigator, France, by Anthony Fletcher
        http://www.foodnavigator.com/news/ng.asp?n=66051-gm-efsa-wto
DATE:   24 Feb 2006

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EFSA hails GM summit despite conflicts of opinion

24/02/2006 - EFSA's acting director claims that this weeks meeting with
environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) was a success, despite a
huge gulf in opinion.

"I am very happy with the atmosphere in which the meeting took place," said
Herman Koter.

"We could not expect to agree on all details but I very much welcomed the open
and fair debate on scientific issues as regards GM (genetic modification).

"We will continue to exchange views and collaborate with all stakeholders to
provide a basis for a better understanding of each others role, expectations
and approach."

The summit in Parma discussed scientific and procedural issues related to the
risk assessment of GM food. In his introduction, Koter addressed fundamental
issues such as the scientific approach and EFSA's selection of experts.

Members of the EFSA GM panel, presented a closer look at the risk assessment
process of GMOs, focusing in particular on the scientific basis for evaluating
food and feed safety, environmental impact and monitoring.

The NGO participants represented Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the European
Environmental Bureau, GM Free Cymru and GeneWatch. These organisations focused
on issues like statistical approaches, the nature of data considered during a
risk assessment and also shared their views on assessments already undertaken
by EFSA.

The summit came just weeks after a WTO ruling backed the US, Canada and
Argentina in their efforts to open Europe up to genetically modified (GM) food.
In August 2003, the US, Canada and Argentina took the EU to the WTO for
suspending approvals for biotech products, and for six member states national
bans on EU-approved GMOs.

The WTO ruled earlier this month that any ban on GM imports contravened the
rules of free trade.

Both the European biotechnology industry and the European Commission have
welcomed the decision. "The industry continues to back a science-based
regulatory system to ensure farmers have the choice to use sustainable
techniques that best meet the needs of their farming operations," said
EuropaBio, the European association for biotech industries, in a statement.

But some anti-GM campaigners remain convinced that Europe does not want GM food.
It is clear that Member States still need to be convinced that introducing
genetically modified ingredients into food production is acceptable the
Commission has asked EU members over ten times to vote on authorising a GMO
food or feed product, but in the large majority of cases, there was no
agreement or simple deadlock.

The objective of the meeting was to consider, in light of these developments, if
there are issues of a scientific or technical nature that the authority should
take into account in the further development of its work and operating
procedures.

EFSA believes that the meeting illustrates the agency's willingness to dialogue
with interested parties on scientific matters in line with EFSA's policy on
openness and transparency. The authority says that it is committed to exchange
and collaboration with all of its stakeholders, including those who may hold
different views.


                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  EFSA and NGOs exchange views on scientific approaches to the risk
        assessment of GMOs
SOURCE: EFSA, Press Release
        http://www.efsa.eu.int/press_room/press_release/1370_en.html
DATE:   23 Feb 2006

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EFSA and NGOs exchange views on scientific approaches to the risk assessment of
GMOs

In a meeting held yesterday in Parma with environmental non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) discussed
scientific and procedural issues related to the risk assessment of genetically
modified organisms (GMOs).

In a meeting held yesterday in Parma with environmental non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) discussed
scientific and procedural issues related to the risk assessment of genetically
modified organisms (GMOs). Following presentations given by representatives
from both the Authority and the NGOs present, participants engaged in an open
discussion. Although differing views and approaches were expressed, some of
which are fundamental in principle, all agreed that the debate had certainly
been worthwhile.

In his introduction Herman Koëter, EFSA’s Acting Director and Chair of the
meeting, explained EFSA’s role as a fully independent body charged with the
risk assessment of food and feed. He addressed fundamental issues such as the
scientific approach and EFSA’s selection of experts, declarations of interest
and confidentiality. Members of the EFSA GMO Panel, presented a closer look at
the risk assessment process of GMOs, focusing in particular on the scientific
basis for evaluating food and feed safety, environmental impact and monitoring.

The NGO participants represented Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the European
Environmental Bureau, GM Free Cymru and GeneWatch. In their presentations the
NGOs expressed their views on GMOs focusing on issues like statistical
approaches, the nature of data considered during a risk assessment and also
shared their views on assessments already undertaken by EFSA.

After the meeting Herman Koëter said “I am very happy with the atmosphere in
which the meeting took place. We could not expect to agree on all details but I
very much welcomed the open and fair debate on scientific issues as regards
GMOs. We will continue to exchange views and collaborate with all stakeholders
to provide a basis for a better understanding of each other’s role,
expectations and approach.”

A report on the outcome of the meeting will be published soon on the EFSA
website:
http://www.efsa.eu.int/stakeholder_stakeholder_consultative_platform/technical_meetings/catindex_en.html


For media enquiries, please contact:
Carola Sondermann, Senior Press Officer
Tel: + 39 0521 036 294
carola.sondermann@efsa.eu.int




--
GENET
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
news & information

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