Biotech Industry notes the European Commission statement that GMO decisions will continue to be based on science

April 13, 2006

Brussels, 12 Apr 2006

Today's debate by the College of Commissioners on the EU's regulatory approval process for products developed using agricultural biotechnology appeared to question the scientific role of the EFSA in the safety assessment of these products. EuropaBio cautions against any move that would politicize the already established independent science based safety assessment process . "After all, people in Europe are increasingly saying they are less and less concerned about GM in food, farmers are also increasingly demanding the right to use the technology, like growers elsewhere around the globe" said Simon Barber.

We note that the Commission's intended improvements will be made in compliance with existing European Community and WTO law. "However, we are concerned that if the proposed improvements to decision making are used to open a door for potential further delays this would contradict the Commission's obligations under EU law and international agreements. We will have to wait to see what this all means in practice." added Simon Barber.

"Any political interference in what should be an independent scientific assessment can only harm public confidence in the EU's food safety system. Any move to undermine the EFSA's scientific independence will also damage consumer confidence in all aspects of food safety - exactly what EFSA was established to address in the first place," said Simon Barber, Director of the Plant Biotechnology Unit at EuropaBio - the European Association for bioindustries.

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