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Brussels, 15th March 2011

GMOs : Commission organises a debate on risk assessment and management

The European Commission organises, on 17 March, in Brussels, the first of a series of debates on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The first debate will focus on GMO risk assessment and management and will be chaired by Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli. It will be attended by representatives of a variety of interested parties, such as experts, stakeholders, Members of the European Parliament and representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). As it will be web-streamed, the debate can also be followed by anyone interested in this subject.

Commissioner Dalli said: "At various occasions I have highlighted my commitment to active and better dialogue with each party interested in issues relating to GMOs. To this aim I am pleased to launch a series of workshops which will bring everybody concerned around the table and discuss the different issues. I firmly believe that this debate is essential in clarifying, and having a better understanding of, the issues involved'. To conclude : "My intention is to take the outcome of today's meeting into consideration towards better, more informed, decision-making on GMOs. "

The debate of March 17 will be broken down in four sessions.

The first will cover the issue of independence of the risk assessment bodies, namely the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the national risk assessment bodies. The second session will focus on applications for GMO authorisations and, in particular, the reliability and transparency of studies. The third session will discuss the Commission's draft regulation on implementing rules for GM food and feed risk assessment and last session will focus on the environmental risk assessment of GM plants.

The event will be web-streamed and can be followed by accessing the website of the European Commission's Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO):

For more information, please see annexed agenda or visit:


GMO risk assessment and management

Debate organised by the European Commission, DG Health and Consumers - participation of Commissioner John Dalli

17 March 2011, 9:00 – 17:00

Centre Albert Borschette, rue Froissart 36, Bruxelles


Chair: Ladislav Miko, Deputy Director General, DG Health and Consumers

Moderator: Dorothée André, Head of Unit, Biotechnology, DG Health and Consumers

Interpretation will be provided in and to FR/EN/DE/NL/IT/ES.

9:00-9:30 Registration

9:30-9:45 Opening speech by Commissioner John Dalli

Session I: Independence of risk assessment bodies (EFSA and national risk assessment bodies)

Impulse statements by:

9:45-10:00 Corinne Lepage, Member of the European Parliament, Rapporteur on the "Regulation of GMO Cultivation"

10:00-10:15 Riitta Maijala, Director of the risk assessment, EFSA

Debate with the Panel

Four experts: Corinne Lepage, Riitta Maijala, Jean-Christophe Pages (Président du Comité Scientifique du Haut Conseil des Biotechnologies, France) and Didier Breyer (Institut de Santé publique, Unité de Biosécurité et Biotechnologies, Belgique)

10:15-10:25 Reaction of panel members

10:25-11:00 Questions from audience

Session II: Applications for GMO authorizations: studies reliability and transparency

Impulse statements by:

11:05-11:20 Marco Contiero, Policy Director, Greenpeace European Unit

11:20-11:35 Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, Director, Green Biotechnology Europe (GBE), EuropaBio

Debate with the Panel

Five experts: Marco Contiero, Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, George Lyon (Member of the European Parliament, Draftsman of the AGRI Committee on the "Regulation on GMO Cultivation"), Per Bergman (Head of GMO unit, EFSA) and Thomas Knacker (Managing Director, Head of the testing facility, ECT Oekotoxikologie GmbH)

11:35-11:45 Reaction of panel members

11:45-12:25 Questions from audience

12:25-12:35 Closing of the morning session, Ladislav Miko

Session III: Draft Commission Regulation on implementing rules for GM food and feed risk assessment

Impulse statements by:

14:00-14:15 Sébastien Goux, Policy Officer, DG Health and Consumers

14:15-14:30 Christoph Then, Executive Director, NGO Testbiotech

Debate with the Panel

Four experts: Sébastien Goux, Christoph Then, Eva Claudia Lang (Deputy Head of Department, Department of Genetic Engineering, Ministry of Health, Austria) and Harry Kuiper (Chair of the EFSA GMO Panel)

14:30-14:40 Reaction of panel members

14:40-15:15 Questions from audience

Session IV: The environmental risk assessment of GM plants

Impulse statement by:

15:20-15:35 Detlef Bartsch, Member of the EFSA GMO Panel

15:35-15:50 Lucia Roda, Scientific and Technical Advisor in the Biotechnology Unit and Member of the Spanish Commission of Biosafety, Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, Spain

Debate with the Panel

Four experts: Detlef Bartsch, Lucia Roda, José Bové (Member of the European Parliament) and Rita Andorko (GMO expert, Ministry of Rural Development, Biodiversity and Gene Conservation Unit, Hungary)

15:50-16:00 Reaction of panel members

16:00-16:40 Questions from audience

16:40-17:00 Closing of the day by Ladislav Miko and proposed follow-up

17:00 Cocktail

Side Bar