31 Mar 2011 – The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) held a consultative workshop in Brussels on 31 March 2011 to discuss the views of stakeholders on its draft guidance for the selection of Genetically Modified (GM) plant comparators. The workshop brought together various interested parties, including representatives from academia, industry, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the European Commission, the European Parliament and scientific experts from EFSA. The meeting was also available to the public via a live webcast which was viewed by more than 900 people.
The aim of the workshop was to allow those who had commented in the recent written public consultation on the draft guidance to further elaborate and discuss their views and to engage directly with scientific experts from EFSA’s Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO Panel) and Working Group on Comparators. The outcomes from the written public consultation as well as discussions during the workshop will be taken into consideration by the EFSA GMO Panel as it works to finalise the guidance document.
ENSSER was invited to give a talk in Session 1 “Setting the Scene – The Concept of Substantial Equivalence” on the pros and cons of different RA concepts. The talk focussed on the deficits of the historic concept of substantial equivalence and the concept of familiarity as developed by OECD almost two decades ago specifically when applied to environmental risk assessment (ERA). The revision of the EU GMO ERA must respect the current legal framework and needs to focus on assessing environmental risks that might arise from the application of genetic engineering.