The new guidelines, commissioned by the European Commission (EC) from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), outline the safety checks necessary before GM animals can be brought into Europe.
Opposers view the guidelines as a precursor to approving GM products for commercial premises. Food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Mute Schimpf believes the thought of eating GM meat or milk “turns people’s stomachs”.
He said: “Leading European supermarkets know it would be bad for business to sell GM animal products and will not stock them. Not a single country allows GM animals for food production. So why is the EC starting a procedure to approve such products? It’s preposterous.”
EFSA said the guidelines had been put in place to keep up with advances in technology and other non-EU countries, which are “already evaluating GM animals, both in terms of food/feed and environmental safety”. As other countries are working towards GM foods, the EC asked EFSA to develop the comprehensive guidelines for the safety assessment of food and feed “derived from GM animals”.
Campaign director for GM Freeze Pete Riley asked: “Why has the EC decided to spend money on this when times are so hard? European consumers have already rejected GM food, so why would parents want to feed their families on meat, fish and milk from GM animals, especially as the production of GM animals will raise additional ethical concerns?”