Monitoring of GMOs released into the environment
|December 02, 2014|
THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
A report published by GenØk-Centre for Biosafety in Norway proposes a framework for monitoring of GMOs released into the environment. Specifically, it provides information and considerations for monitoring carried out under the Norwegian Gene Technology Act, which is at the same time robust, comprehensive and useful for safeguarding the environment and human and animal health. The framework is adaptable to biosafety frameworks in other regulatory contexts.
GMO monitoring is the observational science undertaken when a GMO is to be released into the environment, which aims at detecting the occurrence of changes (e.g. in the receiving environment(s) or in the GMO) that could lead to adverse effects. Monitoring aims to detect both anticipated and unanticipated effects that are direct and indirect, immediate and delayed, by observing changes in the environment or in human or animal health and determining whether these changes are related to one (or more) GMO(s).
GMO monitoring may serve three principle functions:
1. Monitoring can be a science-based means for confirming the conclusion on hazards anticipated in the risk assessment;
2. Monitoring can survey for adverse effects that were not identified in, or could not have been anticipated in, a singular risk assessment;
3. Monitoring may be used to evaluate the effectiveness of selected risk management strategies.
The report distinguished between the two main types of monitoring: case-specific monitoring and general surveillance. Case-specific monitoring deals with monitoring for potential adverse effects that were identified and evaluated in the risk assessment of a specific GMO, or to verify the effectiveness of risk management strategies that were enacted with the GMO release, based on specified protection goals. General surveillance surveys for unanticipated adverse effects that were not identified in the risk assessment. This includes monitoring for interactive or cumulative adverse effects that by definition could not have been anticipated in a singular risk assessment and is particularly useful where there is a limited understanding of persistence, accumulation or exposure of the GMO or its products in the environment, or where different GMOs may interact, or new agricultural management strategies may be employed.
The report recommends a monitoring plan that is clear in its requirements, detailed in its description, practical and feasible in its management, robust in its analysis and interpretation, and consistent in its reporting. With this aim there are a number of general considerations that may be kept in mind in the development of a monitoring framework:
1. The monitoring plan should be flexible and adaptive to respond to new information, realities, and/or monitoring needs;
2. The collection of baseline data in both the specific GMO and the potential receiving environment is critical to detect changes and establish causal relationships;
3. Review and assessment of monitoring should ensure scientific quality and integrity in the conduct of monitoring, and ensure that the objectives set forth at the beginning of the monitoring are met;
4. Additional risk assessment studies may be deemed necessary based on the results from monitoring;
5. Monitoring should begin early in the development of a GMO;
6. Observation and management of long-term, indirect and cumulative effects;
7. The capacities to carry out the required monitoring activities should be taken into account when designing a plan or determining its feasibility, in order to identify and estimate any additional resources needed to carry out the activity;
8. Monitoring for human and animal health impacts may require additional methods and/or information sources;
9. The competent authority may request, as appropriate, the exporter to carry out the implementation and coordination of monitoring activities.
The full report is available here: http://genok.no/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/GenOk_Biosafety_Report_2013_02.pdf
With best wishes,
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
Website: http://www.biosafety-info.net/ and http://www.twn.my/
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Biosafety Report 2013/02
GenØk - Centre for Biosafety,
Monitoring of GMOs released into the Norwegian environment: A case study with herbicide-tolerant GM rapeseed
Monitoring GMOs approved for release into the environment is a requirement under both EU and Norwegian legislation, in order to safeguard desired protection goals from potential adverse effects arising from their use. Achieving this objective requires that monitoring be practical and feasible, its use of resources effective, and that its outcomes are useful for producing new knowledge. This report aims to help ensure monitoring carried out under the Norwegian Gene Technology Act (NGTA) is robust, comprehensive, and useful for meeting the stated aims of safeguarding the environment and human/animal health.