Commission launches European network of GMO labs

A network of over 45 laboratories across the EU Member States will now cooperate in tracing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food and feed and supporting regulation of their use.

The network was inaugurated by the EU's Research Commissioner,
Philippe Busquin, on 4 December. The laboratories' activities will
be coordinated by the EC's Joint Research Centre. Their main task
is to tackle scientific issues related to current and forthcoming
GMO-related legislation.

On 28 November 2002, the EU's Agriculture
Ministers concluded a political agreement on labelling and tracing
GMOs in Europe (see

). The draft law stipulates that all
foods produced in Europe from GMOs must be labelled. The Union's
Environment Ministers are scheduled to address the issue of GMO
traceability at their meeting on 9 December.

Biotechnology industries will collaborate with
the laboratory network on a voluntary basis. Industry will provide
details on DNA sequences needed to detect GM material. The
laboratories employ around 450 experts. Each GMO test costs about
125,000 euro.


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