EU readies new members with GMO testing facilities

April 30, 2004, as reported by The European Union will equip 24 national enforcement laboratories from the ten new member countries to monitor genetically modified organisms. The 24 labs will become part of the European Network of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Laboratories (ENGL).

The network will assist the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) to manage the detection, identification and quantification of GMOs in food and feed samples across Europe.

Under new European Union regulations the JRC has been acting since 18 April as the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL), with the role of coordinating the validation of detection methods. Since this date, applications for GM food or feed can now only be granted if the CRL decides, through a series of tests, that the application's methods are accurate and effective in detecting GMOs in food and feed samples.

"Providing a harmonized 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," said European research commissioner Philippe Busquin.

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