EU Parliament votes for “transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain”

But not all details of the new regulation are real improvements

17 April 2019 / The EU Parliament has adopted a “new regulation on transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain”. The regulation requests industry and authorities to improve access to data with relevance for food safety and the environment. Most observers positively note that relevant data from industry must in future be registered in a publicly available database. Further, the EU Commission can now request specific investigations to resolve uncertainties and open questions regarding risk assessment. However, it remains problematic that industry can continue to hamper access to information on processes in developing genetically engineered organisms and exact genetic changes by referring to commercial interests.

“In order to assess the risks associated with genetically engineered organisms, it is necessary to have access to DNA sequence information showing exactly how the genome of the organisms has been altered. It is a cause for concern that it is this specific information which, according to the new regulation, can be kept secret in future,” Christoph Then states. “This might become an issue for future court cases.”

In recent months, Testbiotech, has been following the EU Parliament debate on the new regulation and has, amongst others things, published a legal dossier on some crucial aspects. Not all the issues raised by Testbiotech were taken in account in the final decision made by the Parliament. Nevertheless, it can be seen as a success that many proposals made by industry aiming to prevent adequate access to information were ultimately rejected.