EU Environmental ministers want more risk assessment of GM crops

]On 4 December 2008, the EU environmental ministers decided that there needs to be a better system to assess the risks of GM crops. They cam to the conclusion that it would be especially important to study long-term effects, and that EFSA should pay more attention to the concerns raised by EU member states.

GM crops producing pesticides should be assessed in a similar way as chemical pesticides. Currently there are no clear rules for the kind of studies used to assess long-term effects. While agrochemicals needs to be tested on three different type of animals over periods as long as two years, there are no comparable rules for GM crops. As a result companies can decide for themselves what they want to test how and most pesticide producing GM crops are only tested on one animal (rats) for as little as 90 days.

The environmental ministers also want companies to make all their information about a GMO public. In principle that's already the case now, but companies often declare parts of the documents as 'confidential business information', accessible only for the authorities. In some cases this included the actual sequence of the inserted DNA or the setup of feeding studies - making it impossible for third parties to scrutinize the presented results.
In addition, the environmental ministers want to make it possible for regions in Europe to declare themselves as GM-free, however only on a voluntary basis.
The decisions of the ministers still has to be implemented by the European Commission and by the EFSA.