The EU directive 2001/18/EF demands that antibiotic resistance marker genes (ARMG) in genetically modified plants (GMP) that can have unfavorable effects on the environment or on human health must be phased out. Because of the demand for harmonization after the EEA agreement, Norwegian authorities wanted an expert opinion based on the current Norwegian regulations.
Based on this, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority requested the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety to perform an assessment of the risk to human health and the environment on the use of antibiotic (antimicrobial) resistance (AR) genes as marker genes for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The assessment should identify possible knowledge gaps and uncertainties related to such risk, and also consider the need for antibiotic resistance marker (ARM) genes in GMOs, possible alternatives to ARM genes, and possible risks connected to the alternatives.
Finally, the assessment should consider the resistance situation in Norway, as compared to the situation in other European countries, and the use of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine in Norway.
VKM’s main committee has conducted the risk assessment based on the report from an ad hoc working group.
The risk assessment was published January 27th 2005.