Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

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The Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) is usually known as the GMO Panel. It is the expert panel of the European Food Safety Authority that issues scientific opinions on genetically modified (GM) crops and foods. Based on these opinions, the EU authorities vote on whether to approve or reject a GM crop or food.

The GMO Panel is supported by the GMO Unit which, acccording to the EFSA, 'provides administrative and scientific support to the work of the GMO Panel and may carry out other projects in EFSA’s remit. The unit may also produce scientific outputs on behalf of EFSA, for instance in response to urgent requests for scientific advice'.[1]

Activities and affiliations


Dr Arpad Pusztai is an internationally renowned scientist who conducted groundbreaking research into the safety of GM potatoes and was fired and gagged when he found problems and spoke about them on British television. In an email to GMWatch (dated 10 August 2008) on the tenth anniversary of his 15 seconds of TV fame, he wrote of GM food safety and the EFSA's GMO Panel:

On this anniversary I have to admit that, unfortunately, not much has changed since 1998. In one of the few sentences I said in my broadcast ten years ago, I asked for a credible GM testing protocol to be established that would be acceptable to the majority of scientists and to people in general. 10 years on we still haven't got one. Instead, in Europe we have an unelected EFSA GMO Panel with no clear responsibility to European consumers, which invariably underwrites the safety of whatever product the GM biotech industry is pushing onto us.

In 2010, Testbiotech published the report European Food Safety Authority: A playing field for the biotech industry. The report addresses conflicts of interest within the GMO Panel membership to demonstrate how the Panel's relationship with the biotech industry - and in particular via the influence of a task force of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) - resulted in comparative assessment being taken as the starting point in the EFSA guidelines on risk assessment of genetically engineered plants. Comparative assessment, an approach to risk assessment which assumes equivalence between conventional breeding and genetic engineering, has serious implications for the scientific rigour of research into the risks of genetically engineered plants.[2]


GMO Panel membership




Harry Kuiper (Chair), Sirpa Kärenlampi (Vice-Chair), Hans Christer Andersson, Detlef Bartsch, Josep Casacuberta, Howard Davies, Gerhard Flachowsky, Annette Poeting, Jeremy Sweet, Atte Johannes von Wright, Jean-Michel Wal

Working groups of the GMO Panel

According to the EFSA website,

Working groups of the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms are set up to develop draft scientific opinions on specific issues. They consist of EFSA scientists and external experts with the required specialisations, identified by consulting EFSA's expert database . All members are required to comply with EFSA's policy on Declarations of Interests.[5]

See Working groups of the GMO Panel.




  1. EFSA (2013), About the GMO Panel and the GMO Unit, accessed 12 January 2013
  2. Testbiotech, "European Food Safety Authority: A playing field for the biotech industry," Testbiotech report, 2010, accessed 9 January 2013.
  3. EFSA, Members of the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), accessed 04 October 2012.
  4. Email correspondence between EFSO GMO Unit and Lucy Brown, RE: GMO Panel, 14 January 2013
  5. EFSA, Working groups of the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms, accessed 22 January 2013

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