EFSA consults public on GMO trials

19-12-2006 | |

EFSA has launched a public consultation on the use of animal feeding trials to assess the safety and nutritional value of GM food or feed.

EFSA’s GMO Panel discussed the different types of
scientific tests available including the use of animal feeding trials and made a
number of recommendations. This work aims at providing further guidance on risk
assessment approaches for GM food and feed, which may also be relevant for other
areas of food and feed safety assessment. Views of all stakeholders and
interested parties are now being sought before final recommendations are

Comparison with non-GM 
The risk assessment of GM plants
and derived food/feed is based on comparison with non-GM counterparts. The GMO
Panel considers that a comparative approach following international risk
assessment standards using molecular, compositional and other analyse remains an
appropriate basis for determining whether animal feeding studies are

Risk assessment
The Panel recommends that any risk assessment of GM
food/feed should first consider whether initial studies using in silico and in
vitro approaches may answer some of the safety questions and indicate whether
there is a need for subsequent in vivo studies, such as animal feeding trials.
This report discusses in depth the strengths and weaknesses of repeated dose
animal feeding trials for the risk assessment of whole GM food or feed. Such
feeding trials on the whole food or feed should be considered in cases of
substantial differences between the GM plant and its conventional counterpart or
where there are indications for the potential occurrence of unintended effects.
In addition, the Panel considered when livestock feeding studies are needed for
the safety and nutritional evaluation of feed derived from GM plants.

The Panel made a number of
recommendations to help improve the scientific basis for assessing the safety
and nutritional aspects of whole foods, such as further development of in silico
and in vitro tests as well as recommendations for appropriate design of in vivo

Comments are invited by 31 January 2007 on the consultation
paper on animal feeding trials, which is available on the EFSA website.

Contributors Global Feed Sector Authors