Approaches in the risk assessment of genetically modified foods by the Hellenic Food Safety Authority

Theodoros H. Varzakas, Georgios Chrysochoidis, D. Argyropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Risk analysis has become important to assess conditions and take decisions on control procedures. In this context it is considered a prerequisite in the evaluation of GM food. Many consumers worldwide worry that food derived from geneticallymodified organisms (GMOs) may be unhealthy and hence regulations on GMO authorisations and labelling have become more stringent. Nowadays there is a higher demand for non-GM products and these products could be differentiated from GM products using the identity preservation system (IP) that could apply throughout the grain processing system. IP is the creation of a transparent communication system that encompasses HACCP, traceability and related systems in the supply chain. This process guarantees that certain characteristics of the lots of food (non-GM origin) are maintained “from farm to fork”. This article examines the steps taken by the HellenicFoodSafetyAuthority to examine the presence of GMOs in foods. The whole integrated European legislation framework currently in place still needs to be implemented in Greece. Penalties should be enforced to those who import, process GMOs without special licence and do not label those products. Similar penalties should be enforced to those companies that issue false certificates beyond the liabilities taken by the food enterprises for farmers’ compensation. We argue that Greece has no serious reasons to choose the use of GMOs due to the fact that the structural and pedologic characteristics of the Greek agriculture favour the biological and integrated cultivation more. Greece is not in favour of the politics behind coexistence of conventional and GM plants and objects to the use of GMOs in the food and the environment because the processor has a big burden in terms of money, time and will suffer a great deal in order to prove that their products are GMO free or that any contamination is adventitious or technically unavoidable. Moreover, Greece owns a large variety of genetic material that should try to protect from patenting and commercialisation. Finally, we should be aware of the requirements of movement of GMOs within borders, i.e. GMOs grown or used in other countries but which are not intended to cross into Greece, since Greece is very close to countries that are non-EU. This is where the development of a new, integrated, trustworthy and transparent food quality control system will help to satisfy the societal demands for safe and quality products. On the other hand, Greece should not be isolated from any recent scientific technological development and should assess the possible advantages for some cultivation using a case by case approach. Finally, the safetyassessment of GM foods and feed has been discussed according to the riskassessment methodology applied by EFSA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-542
Number of pages13
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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