Two new EFSA opinions on genetically modified maize for food and feed uses have been published on the 30 March 2010. In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed, the public may make comments on this opinion during 1 month.
The Regulation on genetically modified food and feed introduces a centralised procedure of authorisation by the European Commission based on an independent risk assessment carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). It also introduces rules for the labelling of GM food and feed and a threshold for the presence of GM material that is adventitious or technically unavoidable.
The authorisation procedure is as follows:
The submission of an application for an authorisation for the placing on the market of a GM food or feed.
The application has to be sent to the competent authority at national level which has to acknowledge the receipt of the application and inform EFSA without delay.
The preparation and the delivery of an opinion by EFSA.
EFSA publishes summaries of the applications on the EFSA website. Applications are sent to the European Commission and to the Member States, who are consulted on the application over a 3 month period. If a GMO is to be used as seeds EFSA has to ask the appropriate authority at national level to carry out the appropriate environmental risk assessment (Art. 6 and 18 of Reg. (EC) 1829/2003).
EFSA must give its opinion within 6 months of receiving the application. However, if additional data is requested during the scientific assessment the time limit is extended.
An overview of the applications received by EFSA can be found on the following website:
The scientific opinions adopted by the GMO Panel of EFSA can be found on the following website:
A favourable opinion by EFSA, is issued with supplementary information from its GMO Panel such as a proposal for labelling, appropriate conditions or restrictions for the placing on the market of the GM product. This supplementary information contributes to the overall EFSA opinion. It is therefore important to make a clear distinction between the scientific opinions of the GMO Panel and the overall EFSA opinions that are required by the Regulation.
The verification of the detection method of GM food and feed is part of the centralised authorisation procedure which is conducted by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in its capacity of Community Reference Laboratory for GM Food and Feed, and assisted by the European Network of GMO Laboratories (ENGL). These verifications are published on the JRC website.
The preparation and adoption of a Decision.
The European Commission submits a draft Decision to the Standing Committee of Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) within 3 months of receiving the overall EFSA opinion. The rules for the adoption of a Decision can be found on the following website:
Comments from the public
The general public may make comments on the overall EFSA opinion within 30 days of its publication. Comments should be addressed to the European Commission. Once an EFSA opinion is available, the European Commission opens a consultation on this website. After 30 days of publication of the opinion, the European Commission analyses all the comments received and consults EFSA to determine whether they have an impact on its opinion.