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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 103 E/71

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(28 September 2000)

The development and validation of detection methods for genetically modified organisms (GMO) and
GMO-derived products has been recognised by the Commission as an important element for the
implementation of Community legislation in Member States ensuring the safe use and appropriate labelling
of these products.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the Commission has been co-ordinating the development and validation
of DNA- and protein-based detection methods for genetically modified foods in the past and will continue
to do so. In this context, the JRC has initiated the establishment of a network of authorities and
laboratories from the Member States. The main objective is to provide control laboratories with appro-
priate reference samples and with validated test protocols to improve the existing protocols and to
promote harmonisation in the development of test methods and in the interpretation of the data generated
by them. Contacts are also maintained with third countries.

A workshop with the authorities of Member States dealing with novel foods on methods for the detection
of GMO-derived foodstuffs was organised by the Commission in November 1999 and the minutes are
published (1).

In addition, research on the development and validation of appropriate detection methods for GMOs and
GMO-derived products are financed under the 5th framework programme for Research and technological

Regulation (EC) No 49/2000 of 10 January 2000 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1139/98
concerning the compulsory indication on the labelling of certain foodstuffs produced from genetically
modified organisms of particulars other than those provided for in Directive 79/112/EEC (2) introducing a
1 % de minimis threshold, recognises that adventitious contamination of foodstuff with DNA or protein
resulting from genetic modification cannot be excluded. The Regulation provides for the derogation to the
obligation, laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1139/98 to label all products derived from two varieties of
genetically modified organisms (maize and soya). It is difficult to see how a relaxation of labelling
requirements could constitute a barrier to trade, or why it would be challenged under WTO.

The Community regulations on labelling of novel foods have been notified under the technical barriers to
trade (TBT) Agreement. Both foreign and domestic operators on the market need to comply with
Community labelling requirements. Therefore, the Community labelling practice is not discriminatory in

(1) EUR 19049 EN.

(2) OJ L 6, 11.1.2000.

(2001/C 103 E/076) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2143/00

by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission

(30 June 2000)

Subject: JRC and tests for GMO levels

Is it true that the Joint Research Centre (JRC) is engaged in developing a test for GMO levels in food, given
that no such test currently exists?
C 103 E/72 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 3.4.2001

Answer given by Mr Busquin on behalf of the Commission

(8 September 2000)

The availability of validated methods for the detection and quantification of genetically modified organisms
(GMOs) in food samples is a key component for the implementation of Community legislation on novel
foods and GMOs.

The Commission’s Joint research centre (JRC) is currently co-ordinating a network of laboratories within
Member States, which was recently established to develop appropriate analytical methodology for the
detection and quantification of GMOs.

Several analytical methods that can be used for detection and also quantification (assessment of levels) of
GMOs are already available within these laboratories. The JRC itself has recently validated methods for (a)
the screening (detection) of raw (1) and processed materials (2) for the presence of GMOs, (b) the
quantification (3) of GMOs from material derived from Round-up® Ready soybeans and BT-176 maize;
and (c) the identification (and quantification) of Round-up® Ready soybeans (4). Further validation studies
concerning the existing quantitative methods are certainly required as are studies to develop more accurate
and sensitive detection methods. Such studies are currently being conducted in a number of laboratories.

The work of the JRC (jointly performed by the Institute for health and consumer protection (IHCP) and the
Institute for reference material and measurements (IRMM)) in these areas continues in close collaboration
with the network of laboratories from Member States. The validation of a further quantitative method for
detection of GMOs is foreseen for autumn 2000.

(1) M. Lipp et al. (1999). IUPAC collaborative trial study of a method to detect the presence of genetically modified
organisms in soy beans and maize. J AOAC Int., 82, 923 (1999).
(2) M. Lipp et al. (2000). Validation of a method based on polymerase chain reaction for the detection of genetically
modified organisms in various processed foodstuffs. Europ. Food Res. Technol., submitted.
(3) G. Van den Eede et al. (2000). Results of a European validation study of a quantitative method. EUR in print.
(4) M. Lipp et al. (2000). Validation of an immuno-assay for detection and quantitation of a genetically modified
soybean in food and food fractions using reference materials: interlaboratory study. J. AOAC, in print.

(2001/C 103 E/077) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2147/00

by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission

(30 June 2000)

Subject: Tallow for soap

Are there are any restrictions in operation within the Community on the use of EU tallow for soap?

What is the legal situation of any company attempting to specify to producers the country/countries
within the EU from which such tallow must originate before they will purchase the soap?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(8 September 2000)

Council Directive 76/768/EEC of 27 July 1976 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States
relating to cosmetic products (1), the Cosmetics Directive, in its annex II No 419 b., states as a general
principle both non-Community and Community tallow derivatives may be used, provided that the listed
methods with specifications for transesterfication and saponification, in other words the manufacturing
process, has been respected. The producer must strictly certify the use of these methods for producing
tallow derivatives.