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Frequently asked questions about food and feed derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

Updated BFR FAQ, 20 May 2012

The placing on the market of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for food and feed use is governed by Regulation (EC) No. 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed which came into force on 18 April 2004 and is binding on all EU member states. This regulation requires a centralised testing and approval procedure. The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) is responsible for safety assessment. The competent authorities of the EU member states can contribute to the safety assessment by providing EFSA with their comments. Taking into account the opinion of EFSA, the European Commission prepares a draft decision; for it to be approved it requires a qualified majority of the Member States.

Approval can only be granted if the safety assessment has shown that the genetically modified food and feed do not have any negative effects on the health of humans, animals and the environment and that consumers are not mislead. In addition, the products must not differ from comparable products, which they are supposed to replace, in such a way that their normal consumption results in nutritional deficiencies for humans or animals.

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