BBP Flash No. 60, 25 November 2016

BBP Flash No. 60,
25 November 2016

Feedback from the VMx – BBP joint event on Oct 13, 2016

On October 13, BBP and VMx (the Flemish organization of Environment professionals, organized a joint workshop entitled “Collaboration and integration of Environment, Biosafety and Health & Safety aspects”, in Sint-Niklaas.

For many VMx members it was the first time that they heard about BBP activities, and the fact that biosafety professionals are often covering a lot more than only the contained use legislation (e.g. Dual use, phytosanitation and quarantine organisms, Movement, import and export requirements, Animal by-products, CITES, ADR etc.).

For BBP it was great to address a larger audience, explain Biosafety, as well as to collect the feedback from the participants.

The event was concluded with a panel discussion covering different questions relating to responsibilities, tasks, keeping up with legislation and competencies. The presentations and the report from the panel discussion can be found on the members’ only part of the website, on the dedicated event page (only accessible after logging in to the website).


In Flanders no contained use permit required for certain CRISPR mutants

On a request stemming from VIB, the Flemish authorities have officially confirmed that plants and animals in which small mutations have been generated using purified Cas9 protein and sgRNA, do not require a GMO contained use permit.


The current decision, which is based on an advice from the SBB, is limited to the so-called DNA-free CRISPR method in which purified Cas9 and sgRNA are used that will be present only transiently. A point mutation, a frameshift mutation, a deletion or insertion of a small number of nucleotides are all considered to be small mutations. And it doesn’t matter whether these mutations have been generated by using a repair donor-template (so-called SDN-2, via the mechanism of homology-directed repair) or without a repair donor-template (so-called SDN-1, via the mechanism of non-homologous end-joining). For the introduction of complete genes or pieces of foreign DNA – the so-called SDN-3 type of editing – a GMO contained use permit is still necessary.

The decision taken by the Flemish authorities creates flexibility in the sense that such CRISPR mutant plants and animals can now also be brought to buildings or rooms that are not covered by a contained use permit, for instance for doing a measurement on a particular piece of equipment that is present there.

The current decision does not extend (yet) to CRISPR mutant plants in which the mutation has been generated by introduction of Cas9 and sgRNA via insertion of T-DNA, which has subsequently been segregated out. But a question on that issue has also been submitted to the authorities and will be answered soon.

CODA-CERVA and SBB to become Sciensano

From January 2017, the Scientific Institute of Public Health (WIV-ISP) and the Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre (CODA-CERVA) will be merged in a new federal research center named "Sciensano". Bringing together the expertise on humans, animals and the environment of both institutes into a united structure supports the 'One Health' principle,
approaching animal and human health in common.
More information can be found via the following link:

EORI-number obliged from January, 1st 2017

From January 1, 2017, a new customs regulation is in force in the European Union. For all import shipments coming from outside the EU, you must identify yourself on the basis of an EORI number (Economic Operators' Registration and Identification).
The Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) scheme aims to track imports and exports within the EU. The EORI number is assigned to an individual legal identity, awarded and recognized by the EU customs authorities. This number is already mandatory today for all companies, for each export outside the EU.
If you already have an EORI number for your exports, you can use the same number for your import shipments. You do not have an EORI number? Ask timely your EORI number at the customs by entering the EORI application form. You can find it by clicking here. Send the completed form to

Do you want to know more about the EORI number? Click here.

Extension of the IFBA certification programme

The International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA) regularly organizes certifications (mostly based on the "Laboratory Biosafety Manual" edited by WHO in 2004 and the management system developed by the CEN Workshop Agreement 15793).

For biosafety professionals involved in international collaborations, being recognized as “IFBA certified Professional” could be a good option to officialise your knowledge not only in biosafety management, but also in four more specific topics such as "Waste Management", "Biosafety Cabinet Selection and Maintenance", "Biocontainment Facility Design, Operations and Maintenance" or "Biosecurity".

Exam sessions are sometimes organized in the framework of the EBSA annual conference, but you can also pass each exam on line. Detailed information can be found on the IFBA website.



Kind regards,


Delphine Beeckman
BBP Chair 2016