Synopsis

The RIVM has made an inventory of genetically modified (GM) organisms that could be illegally imported into the European Union, now or in the near future. In recent years, some varieties of genetically modified ornamental fish have appeared illegally on the EU market. The research in the current report focused on genetically modified animals and micro-organisms that have not yet been authorized on the EU market, especially since an inventory of genetically modified crops has already been drawn up.


It appears that besides genetically modified ornamental fish, veterinary vaccines and pesticides that contain genetically modified micro-organisms could potentially be illegally imported. Furthermore, ‘medical tourism’ and ‘do-ityourself biology’ may lead to the undesirable introduction of genetically modified organisms into the environment. There are currently no genetically modified food/feed animals, pets, or insects on the market, but this may change in the near future, depending on the admission or rejection of current market applications.


This report was commissioned by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate, formerly the VROM Inspectorate. One of the report’s objectives is to provide decision-making tools for the Inspectorate with regard to which genetically modified organisms will require the most attention (now and in the near future), how they can be detected and which agency is responsible for the enforcement.


The RIVM has examined which genetically modified organisms have already been admitted to the market or could be admitted soon. This was done by consulting the databases of agencies dealing with authorization of genetically modified organisms, both within and outside Europe. In addition, literature and internet resources were studied. Data were also taken from agencies involved in the inspection and enforcement of genetically modified organisms.


For each category of organisms within the inventory (ranging from genetically modified bacteria and viruses, insects, fish, and small animals to cattle) an estimation of the likelihood of import was made. Further included is whether an environmental risk assessment is available that may be helpful for assessing the potential risks to human health and the environment.