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Dutch Study Sees No Benefit of Animal Study in GM Crop Testing

5 September 2013, at 6:52am

NETHERLANDS - A compulsory animal test used to ascertain the safety of genetically-modified (GM) crops is unnecessary, according to researchers from organisations including RIKILT Wageningen UR.

The researchers have published an article published in Plant Biotechnology Journal about the usefulness and necessity of the compulsory testing of GM food in rodents. As a number of countries with the European Union consider them necessary, these tests have been made compulsory by the European Commission.

Animal testing often adds nothing

However, the researchers are of the opinion that that animal tests often add nothing to the current risk assessment for the safety of GM food.

Animal testing whereby the whole crop is included in the diet of the animals is difficult to perform and not very sensitive, they say. In addition, compulsory animal testing is at odds with the major efforts of the European Commission to reduce the number of tests performed on animals.

DNA and composition data sufficient

In many cases, the analytical data - DNA and composition data - of the new crop are sufficient to draw a conclusion regarding the safety of new GM crops.

Only if it can be demonstrated that analytical data are inadequate could animal testing be considered as a useful source of additional data.

The researchers argue for the retention of the case-by-case approach applied to date by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

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