Obligatory animal tests for GM food and feed totally unnecessary and a step backwards
Posted on 15/06/2012
At today’s meeting of the Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), Eurogroup for Animals calls on the European Commission and Member States to reconsider the obligatory requirement for 90-day feeding trials for GMOs in implementing rules currently being discussed.
The inclusion of this test goes against the latest scientific advice from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published in January this year which states that it should only be carried out on a case-by-case basis as determined by EFSA itself, which has so far been the case.
The Implementing Rules for the authorisation of genetically modified food and feed, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, are under discussion with Member States representatives. The inclusion of the obligatory test will have a major impact on animal welfare and suffering, is not based on any sound scientific basis and will not improve consumer safety. The Commission has failed in its obligation to promote the use of non-animal alternative tests and this is a step backwards.
Instead, Eurogroup calls on the Commission and Member States to set up a Working Group involving experts in the area of in vitro testing and representatives from the different interest groups to compile an integrated strategy for risk analysis of GM food and feed.
“We believe that the obligatory call is in contradiction to the Commission’s objective to reduce, refine and replace animal testing and to replace it with more modern, state-of-the-art science. There is no scientific reasoning behind the decision to make this test obligatory. It is purely political,”said Sonja Van Tichelen, Director of Eurogroup for Animals.
“We are extremely alarmed that despite there being no evidence that this test has ever yielded any additional significant or useful results it has been accepted by the Commission. Until today a request to perform the 90 day study had to be considered on a case by case and supported by a scientific opinion by EFSA. This is a major u-turn that will affect many animals in the future and is extremely disappointing,” she concluded.