Genetically engineered organisms: Gaps in EU risk assessment

Presentation of the final results of the scientific project “RAGES” (Risk Assessment of Genetically Engineered Organisms in the EU and Switzerland).

Background: The European Parliament has voted by large majority to oppose Commission plans to authorize several genetically engineered (GE) organisms. In particular, the Parliament is asking for risks to health and the environment to be properly evaluated before authorizing any imports. The results of the international research project RAGES now show that the concerns of the Parliament are very well founded.

The RAGES project was carried out between 2016 and 2019 and is completely independent of the interests of the biotech industry. First results were published in ‘Environmental Sciences Europe’ in December 2019. The scientists critically evaluated the risk assessment of genetically engineered (GE) food plants carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and its Swiss counterpart. Likewise, they took new methods of genetic engineering into account (also called "gene editing", with the most prominent technique being Crispr/Cas9). RAGES concludes that risk assessment of GE plants as currently implemented in Europe is not sufficient to safeguard the protection of health and the environment. Scientists explain why organisms stemming from both “old” and “new” GE techniques should be tested and make concrete proposals for a fit-for-purpose risk assessment.

The results will be presented by Dr. Angelika Hilbeck (ENSSER), Dr. Christoph Then (Testbiotech) and Dr. Janet Cotter (Logos Environmental). EFSA and DG SANTE are invited to comment.

The event is kindly supported by MEP Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA), MEP Günther Sidl (S&D), MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP), MEP Sheila Ritchie (Renew), MEP Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL), MEP Eleonora Evi (N/A).

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23 January 2020
10:30 - 12:30
European Parliament, Room ASP 5E1, Brussels