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Health Hazards: Genetically Modified Organisms

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what reports he has received of research into the potential harmful effects associated with genetically modified maize and soya varieties approved for food and feeds use in the EU; and if he will support a tightening of the regulatory and approvals regime for such varieties. (242649)

New research is regularly published in the field of genetically modified organisms and we are aware of a number of recent studies concerning authorised genetically modified maize and soya varieties which could have a bearing on the safety of these products. These reports will be scrutinised by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, and or by the European Food Safety Authority, in order to assess their significance for the safe use of these genetically modified (GM) materials in food and feed.

The safety of new GM materials is rigorously assessed by the European Food Safety Authority before they are cleared for use in food or feed and the current system provides adequate assurances that authorised materials are as safe as their conventional counterparts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will provide resources for reporting bodies and advising committees on genetically-modified organisms to sponsor independent feeding trials to establish the safety or otherwise of genetically modified (GM) food and feed varieties prior to the authorisation process; and if he will support measures to oblige GM seed growers to provide reference materials for such trials. (242651)

It is the responsibility of the applicants to provide all the information that is needed to support the assessment of their products. It would not be appropriate for public funds to be spent on research into individual genetically modified crops in order to allow the pre-market risk assessment to proceed.