Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

The current status and future prospects of genetically modified farm animals in Europe

Forabosco, Flavio; Rydhmer, Lotta


A transgenic farm animal is a genetically modified (GM) animal with genetic material that has been engineered using recombinant technology. Over the past 25 years the European Union (EU) has taken a process-based, case-by-case approach to risk assessment. Within the EU today GM organisms are authorized only if they have passed a rigorous safety assessment. Procedures for the release of GM organisms into the environment, and the requirements of evaluation and authorization, are set out in EU Directive 2001/18/EC and Regulation 1829/2003, respectively. Currently the EU's official list of approved genetically modified food, feed and organisms contains 42 registered plants and two GM microorganisms, with the latter recently joining the list. No GM mammals, birds, insects, fish or derived food products of animal origin are on the EU market. The European Food Safety Authority, under the mandate of the EU Commission, is developing an environmental risk assessment procedure for mammals, birds, insects and fish with the aim of assessing the possible direct or indirect, as well as immediate or delayed, risks to human health and the environment. The EU market is closed to GM farm animals, but will soon open for those who pass the environmental risk assessment.

Published in

Genomics and Quantitative Genetics
2012, Volume: 5, pages: 1-4