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13 Jan 2011


Agriculture & Food
Health & Consumers

The evaluation of the risks of GMOs for health and the environment has been the key controversy in the GMO debate in Europe. The work of European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) GMO panel, has been criticised by Member States non-EFSA scientists and NGOs.
The ALDE group has taken the initiative to bring together EFSA and non EFSA experts on biosafety to discuss how the risk evaluation of GMOs should be conducted in a seminar which will be attended by John Dalli, EU Commissioner on Health and Consumer Policy.

ALDE MEP Corinne Lepage (Cap21, France), rapporteur on the Commission's proposal on the "opt out" clause for GMO cultivation in the ENVI Committee, said:

"The quality of the evaluation of the risks of GM crops has been at the centre of controversy for years. I welcome the fact that, for the first time, the Parliament has organised a two-sided debate on this important issue for European citizens.

"It is crucial for policy-makers to have access to unbiased expertise and consider all sides of an argument. Fact-finding processes should be systematically organised to hear all sides, as in a court room. This is vital if the Parliament is to have a meaningful debate on the future of Europe's agriculture and on research priorities."

ALDE MEP George Lyon (Liberal Democrat, UK), rapporteur for an opinion on the Commission's proposals on the "opt out" clause for GMO cultivation in the AGRI Committee, added:

“The future of GMO cultivation has caused heated debate across Europe with strong opinions on both sides of the argument.

“It is vital for farmers, consumers and the environment that the impasse between the two opposing sides be broken."


Note to editors:

The ALDE seminar on "Risk evaluation of GMOs - Debate between EFSA and non-EFSA scientists" will take place today from 14.30 to 18.00 in PHS 7 C50.


14.30 Introduction by MEPs Corinne Lepage and George Lyon on the legal framework for GMOs and the new EFSA guidelines on the evaluation of health and environmental risks of GMOs

14.45 How are GMOs assessed and approved in the USA - a comparative perspective

Professor Martina Newell-McGloughlin, University of California, Davis  
15.00 Panel I - The evaluation of risks of GMOs for the environment

Karine Lheureux, Senior Scientific Officer, EFSA GMO Unit

Angelika Hilbeck, Senior Researcher, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology,
President of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental
Responsibility (ENSSER)
Panel debate and questions from MEPs and the audience

16.00 Panel II - The evaluation of risks of GMOs for food and feed
Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, University of Caen, President of the scientific
council of the Committee of Independent Research and Information on Genetic
Engineering (CRIIGEN)

Claudia Paoletti, Senior Scientific Officer, EFSA GMO Unit    

Panel debate and questions from MEPs and the audience  

17:00 General debate

17.30 Speech by John Dalli, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy
17.45 Concluding words by MEPs Corinne Lepage and George Lyon

18.00 Cocktail reception

For more information, please contact / Pour de plus amples informations, veuillez contacter:
Corlett Neil - Tel: +32 2 284 20 77 Mob: +32 478 78 22 84
Angelika Schneider - Tel: +32 2 2 284 10 19 Mob: +44 7950 184 194


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