Problem formulation in the environmental risk assessment for genetically modified plants

Wolt, JDK, Paul; Raybould, Alan; Fitzpatrick, Julie W.; Burachik, Moisés; Gray, Alan; Olin, Stephen S.; Schiemann, Joachim; Sears, Mark; Wu, Felicia,  Transgenic Research,  19:425-436. 2010.

Problem formulation is the first step in environmental risk assessment (ERA) where policy goals, scope, assessment endpoints, and methodology are distilled to an explicitly stated problem and approach for analysis. The consistency and utility of ERAs for genetically modified (GM) plants can be improved through rigorous problem formulation (PF), producing an analysis plan that describes relevant exposure scenarios and the potential consequences of these scenarios. A properly executed PF assures the relevance of ERA outcomes for decision-making. Adopting a harmonized approach to problem formulation should bring about greater uniformity in the ERA process for GM plants among regulatory regimes globally. This paper is the product of an international expert group convened by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Research Foundation.