In Europe, authorisation holders for GM crops are required to monitor for the occurrence of unanticipated adverse effects from the import and/or cultivation of the GM crop. This is referred to as ‘general surveillance’. General surveillance was instituted so that, in case of adverse effects, where appropriate, measures can be taken to protect human health and the environment.
The applicants submit a plan in which they describe how they will carry out this general surveillance requirement. In recent years COGEM has evaluated dozens of these plans. The strategy and methods for general surveillance have now taken on a more definite form and the majority of authorisation holders use the same general surveillance plan.In this report COGEM describes the aspects of general surveillance which it considers deserve further attention, evaluates how the widely used general surveillance plans for import and for cultivation perform on these points, and identifies which aspects of the plans should be improved. Points for improvement are discussed separately for the general surveillance plans for each type of authorisation (import or cultivation). In addition, COGEM takes into account whether the crop can be cultivated in the Netherlands and whether the plants can become established in the wild and/or outcross with wild relatives in the Netherlands. The issues raised in this report form the principles that COGEM considers should be followed for general surveillance. COGEM also provides pointers to applicants for improving future general surveillance plans.