GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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Stakeholder input wanted: survey on research needs for assessing GMO impacts 

Shaping the Future of GMO Research

Stakeholder with interests in the risk and/or benefit assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are invited to take part in an online survey.

The aim of this survey is to identify which research needs should be prioritised, thereby contributing to the commissioning of research on the health, environment and economic impacts of GMOs.

The survey will close on 15th July 2015.

More information and access to the online survey

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GM Crops
The Big Four: Soybean, Maize, Rapeseed and Cotton


Soybeans: Predominanty GM

Over half of the world's 2007 soybean crop (59%) was genetically modified, a higher percentage than for any other crop. Each year, the EU Member States import approximately 40 million tonnes of soy material, primarily used for feeding cattle, swine, and chickens. Soybeans are also used to produce many food additives. 



GM maize: Cultivated in Europe

Maize is the only GM crop that is currently being grown in Europe. Maize is used primarily for animal feed and is also an important raw material for the starch industry. If GM maize production in Europe were to increase, it would most likely make its way into food products.



GM wheat: Not on the North American market

GM wheat is not currently grown anywhere in the world. The planned introduction of GM wheat into the US and Canada has been put off for the time being. Genetic engineering could be used to combat fungal disease. Fungal diseases not only cause significant yield losses, but also lead to the contamination of wheat products with fungal toxins.




Until recently, rapeseed was a relatively unimportant crop. Today rapeseed is grown not only as raw material for renewable resources, but also as a source of oil that is used to produce margarine. There is no GM rapeseed currently being grown in Europe. In Canada, however, GM rapeseed has become widespread.



Sugar beet:

Commercial planting of a genetically modified herbicide-tolerant sugar beet began in the USA in 2008. This is expected to make weed management simpler and more effective. This sugar beet is approved for import into the EU, as well as for food and feed processing; however, it is not yet authorised for cultivation.



Potato: Starch as a renewable resource

Over the last few years, potatoes have been losing importance as a food crop. The crop's prospects in the starch and chemical industry, however, have been growing for quite some time. A genetically modified potato cultivar with optimised starch content will most likely be cultivated in Europe soon.




Disease resistance and enhanced nutritional qualities are the most important goals in modern plant breeding. Soon, genetically modified rice will be found in fields in several countries around the world.




Cotton is not only important as a source of fibre for textiles. The seeds make up an important part of food and animal feed. GM cotton is grown primarily in India, China and the United States. China is currently expanding its production of GM cotton, which could allow for drastic reductions in pesticide use.



An EU Research Project

What are the risks of growing GM crops?

What are the benefits?

Numerous studies have addressed the potential impacts of genetically modified (GM) plants. Yet the existing evidence on the effects of GM plants is often contradictory and the quality of scientific research varies widely.

Therefore, the GRACE project will establish new tools for assessing the quality of existing studies and will conduct comprehensive reviews to identify health, environmental and socio-economic impacts of GM plants.

More information


GMO Soybeans & Sustainability

Less soil erosion and fuel consumption: herbicide tolerant soybeans are promoting sustainable cultivation methods.


Glyphosate in European agriculture

Interview with a farmer

Glyphosate containing herbicides are not only used in fields with GM crops. They also allow conventional farmers to sow directly into stubble fields without ploughing. Glyphosate has replaced mechanical weed control in many crops and has had an important impact on agricultural practices and crop yields in Europe over the past few decades.

European Glyphosate Task Force

Animation: The Authorisation Process in Motion!
Applying, consulting, and making a decision: The long and winding road to GMO authorisation in EU
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 GMO Database
GM Food and Feed: Authorization in the EU
GMO Database: Contains information on every GM plant that has been approved or is awaiting authorisation in the EU.
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