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European Union Reference Laboratory for GM Food and Feed (EURL GMFF)

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EU-RL-GMFF LogoThe European Union Reference Laboratory for GM Food and Feed (EURL GMFF) is the body responsible for the scientific assessment and validation of GMO detection methods for food, animal feed or seeds in the EU’s authorisation process.  It became operational in 2004 with clear duties and tasks defined by the European legislation on GMOs.



Duties and tasks of the EURL GMFF
  • scientific assessment and validation of detection methods for GM food and feed

  • preparation and distribution of control samples to enforcement laboratories

  • settlement of potential disputes in Member States’ laboratories when different analytical results for GMO detection are obtained

  • assistance to national reference laboratories with their duties to monitor the European market for GMOs

The laboratory regularly publishes information on the status of validation dossiers on the internet. Such information includes the name of the GM event, the unique identifier of the GMO, the applicant biotech company and the validation status of the method submitted.  Once the validation process is complete, the full validation report and the protocol of detection and quantification are submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and also published on the EURL GMFF web site.

Since its existence, the EURL GMFF has released validation reports for more than 70 methods of detection for various GMOs species, including maize, soybean, rapeseed, potato, cotton, sugar beet and carnation.  Approximately 10 other methods are being assessed.  In addition, 5 methods for unauthorised GMOs were verified.

The EURL GMFF has also a coordinating role with the EU NRLs for the application of reference methods.  Each Member State has at least one NRL who is obligated to regularly monitor the EU market for the presence of GMOs.  In order to ensure that NRLs perform the detection of GMOs at a high quality level, the EURL GMFF organises comparative testing schemes for these laboratories since 2010.  Participation of non EU labs is permitted.  Moreover, collaboration with non EU countries is promoted, with the aim of fostering a harmonised approach of GMO detection and collaboration at a global level.

Recently, a lab-practical booklet of GMO detection reference methods has been compiled. The selection is based on compliance with ISO 5725 international standard and/or the IUPAC (methods validated by the EURL GMFF and others retrieved from peer reviewed publications and reports).


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Watch video on 'Biotechnology' featuring EURL-GMFF Laboratory

The video, issued in February 2012, illustrates some EU-RL GMFF activities related to GMO analysis.

Watch it on the European Commission Audiovisual