Brussels, 22 Nov 2002
The Inauguration Ceremony and the Stakeholders' Meeting of the European Network of GMO Laboratories (ENGL) will be held in Brussels on 4-5 December.
Invitation to the Press
Food, Feed and Environmental Research
Commission launches the "European Network of GMO Laboratories"
This network consists of more than 45 control laboratories chaired by the European Commission. It is responsible for the analysis of food, feed, seed and environmental samples, to determine the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
4 th December 2002, 11:00 – 12:00 Press Conference (followed by lunch); see also detailed media programme
Centre Charlemagne, 170 Rue de la Loi, Brussels 1040
What is new about this?
A network of more than 45 European enforcement GMO laboratories with the task of har-monisation of technical GM issues - including access to validated methods and technical guidance on detection and sampling.
In meetings with Commissioner Busquin and with a number of experts from different EU countries, this event will allow for the assessment and understanding of the capacities of na-tional control laboratories. Speakers will explain the challenges they face in setting up a con-trol mechanism that provides sufficient confidence to the consumer with respect of tracing GMOs throughout the food chain.
The European Union has put in place a set of strict procedures for approving the growth, im-port and/or use of GMO food or ingredients. EU legislation guarantees the consumer's right to information. Many of EU GMO regulations require extensive analysis, for instance in regulating the mandatory labelling of ingredients, such as flour, if more than 1% of the grain used has been genetically modified.
Food and feed samples are collected by inspectors and are then screened for DNA or pro-teins that indicate genetic modifications. If a screening shows the presence of one or more GMOs, regulation requires that the amount be quantified. There are a large number of tech-nical difficulties associated with this control process. For instance, taking a limited number of samples becomes a challenge when it is to determine whether a 16,000-ton grain shipment contains GMOs.
However, in recent years there have been great technical advances to find novel and inno-vative solutions for such difficult tasks. In the EU, the Commission's Joint Research Centre is currently setting up a European Network of GMO Laboratories (ENGL). This network aims at.harmonising pan-European test methods, sampling strategies and analytical techniques by exchanging information between experts, developing robust testing methods and producing reference materials.
Journalists are invited to participate in the ENGL inauguration event as well as the press conference. Furthermore, journalists have the possibility to participate in the stakeholders' sessions in the afternoon, where GMO producers, Non-Governmental Organisations and other interest groups will have the opportunity to express their views. An on-site visit to the nearby JRC Geel laboratory is also foreseen.
For detailed information see: http://engl.jrc.it
Detailed media programme:
9h15 – 9h50 Press breakfast: GMOs: European actions, issues and perspectives
9h50-10h10 Inauguration speech by Commissioner Busquin
10h30-10h50 Short presentations by Network Members
11h00 Press conference with Commissioner Busquin
12h00-13h00 Lunch with the network and stakeholders
13h00 Departure to the JRC Geel
14h00-16h00 Visit to the JRC in Geel, Institute for Reference Materials and Meas-urements
- visiting laboratories for the production of GMO reference
materials and a new biotechnology lab for genomics
17h00 Arrival at Brussels (airport and station: Gare du Midi)
Contact points for further information:
Spokesman for Research & Development - Commissioner Philippe Busquin
Tel. +32 2 296.41.74, GSM +32 (0)498 96.41.74, fax +32 2 296.30.03
For practical arrangements:
JRC Information and Public relations, tel. +39 0332 789893, fax:+39 0332 782435,
Media mobile: +39 3484917184