Monitoring, Case-by-Case Assessments Recommended for new GMOs by French Health & Safety Agency (ANSES)

“Given the technical, economic and social uncertainties identified in this report and the controversies raised by the development of NTG-derived plants, the Working Group recommends that a system be set up to monitor NTG plants and products derived from them…an assessment of the risks…should be carried out on a case-by-case basis”.

That’s according to the French National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES). The health agency was tasked with carrying out an expert appraisal of both the risks and the socio-economic issues associated with “plants obtained using certain new genomic techniques” (also known as new GMOs, or gene editing. In French the acronym NTG is used rather than NGT)

This recommendation to work case-by-case, and to put in place adequate monitoring for all new GMOs, differs from the approach proposed by both the Commission and Parliament, which seeks to have category one (supposedly equivalent to conventional plants) and category 2 plants (requiring more controls).

The report, dated 22nd January,  was due to be made available before a crucial European Parliament vote in February. However, according to French newspaper Le Monde, which first obtained the report, its publication was blocked due to “political pressure”.

This is likely to further stall the progression of legislation, currently at the inter-institutional stage, this late into the mandate, with Elections upcoming in June.

In More Detail

Case-by-case assessment should “take into account the purpose and consequences of the genetic modification on the agronomic, phenotypic and compositional characteristics of the genetically modified plant, as well as immunological, toxicological and nutritional assessments.”

Monitoring work should be independent, and take into account the impact on cultivation practices, the needs of smaller breeders, risk of cross-contamination, impact on the organic sector, consumer right to information, and the costs of labelling and traceability, in particular for the organic sector.

The report points to both known and new risks to human health and the environment, due to the wider range of plants and traits that could be modified – “some of the known risks already associated with genetically modified plants remain relevant…but that new risks have been identified.”

Consequently, “given the diversity of situations” case-by-case assessments are needed.

“In particular… modification of species hitherto unaffected by transgenesis could lead to new risks for the environment, by encouraging the spread of modified genes or plants, and by modifying the interactions between animals and these plants. Furthermore, in the event of a change in plant composition, whether desired or unexpected… change in the toxicity, allergenicity or nutritional characteristics of the plant is possible. More generally, the WG notes the possibility, following any modification, of pleiotropic effects leading to a change in the plant’s properties.”

ANSES has given two opinions in recent months. As reported earlier this week, the EU’s food safety agency has been asked to together a new opinion on this topic the request of the European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

It is understood that the Belgian presidency is still trying to progress the file before the Hungarian presidency commences. 

For an analysis see GM watch article

news-43622-avis-anses-nouveaux-ogm_compressed

More

EU Food Safety Agency to Give New Opinion on New Genomic Techniques/New GMOs

Parliament greenlights plans to loosen EU rules on new GMOs – but with key conditions

Plan to Loosen EU Rules on Genetic Technologies Passes First Parliament Hurdle

 

 

Avatar photo
About Oliver Moore 213 Articles

Dr. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC.

A propos d'Oliver Moore
Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activité professionnelle. Il peut néanmoins admirer par la fenêtre de son bureau les mésanges charbonnières et les corbeaux perchés au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cœur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisés, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant à la communauté. Les jours où il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sèches et les jardins familiaux. 

Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant également des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »). 

Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne également des cours sur le Master en coopératives, agroalimentaire et développement durable à l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large.

Il consacre la majorité de son temps de travail à l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date à laquelle l’Irlande a assuré la présidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est là qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grâce à sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. Après six mois, il est nommé rédacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des médias sociaux, aide à définir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois même rédige un article pour le site web. 

À l’époque où on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, où il a aidé des ONG irlandaises de commerce équitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – à raconter leur histoire.

Il se peut que ces jours-là reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de préférer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. Après tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilités de bénévolat dans la communauté dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.