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Brussels, 14 March 2003

Scientific Steering Committee adopts new rapid BSE tests and a guidance document on GMOs

At its plenary of 6-7 March 2003, the Scientific Steering Committee adopted no less than 15 opinions and reports, covering a broad range of multidisciplinary areas such as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs), genetically modified (GM) plants and the harmonisation of risk assessment approaches.

In the field of TSEs, the most important opinions relate to Chronic Wasting Disease, the safety of phosphates derived from bovine bones, the BSE risk of the bovine autonomic nervous system and the field trial evaluation of two new rapid BSE post mortem tests. The two new tests(1), comparable to already approved tests, should help to create more competition in the field. They have gone through the full evaluation process, consisting of an initial laboratory evaluation and a field trial under practical conditions. The SSC recommends their formal approval in the framework of the TSE Regulation (999/2001).

The SSC also adopted an opinion to accompany the "Guidance document for the risk assessment of genetically modified plants and derived food and feed". This document will guide industry in submitting applications for product approval in the field of GM plants and derived products. It will also be a useful guide for risk assessors in their safety evaluations. It was prepared by a Joint Working Group on Novel Foods and GMOs composed of members of the Scientific Committees for Plants, Food and Animal Nutrition. This broad interdisciplinary exercise involved the general public through internet consultation.

As part of its exercise on the harmonisation of risk assessment methods, the SSC adopted a Report on the Ecological Risk Assessment of Chemicals and a Report on the Risk Assessment for Animal Populations, with emphasis on wildlife.

The 15 reports and opinions can be consulted on

The guidance document for the risk assessment of genetically modified plants will also be available on the internet pages of the Scientific Committees for Plants, Food and Animal Nutrition:

(1)The two new tests are the Prionics-Check Luminescence Immunoassay (Prionics LIA Test) and InPro's automated Conformation Dependent Immunoassay (aCDI Test).

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