Biosafety and biotechnology

Head of Service: 

Evaluate and inform about the risks related to the use of GMOs and disease-causing organisms

We are a group of scientists with a wide expertise in all matters related to biosafety. The use of pathogens (disease-causing organisms) or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) might in some cases involve risks for human health or the environment. It is our task to assess these risks and, when necessary, to propose proportionate measures to control them.
We are committed to serving society by providing scientific support and delivering objective information and recommendations to the authorities or any interested person or organisation. In delivering our expertise we are, just like Sciensano, completely independent.
For more information on our activities and on biosafety issues in general, please visit our website “Belgian Biosafety Server” at

Want to know more?

Biological risk assessment: We assess, according to internationally-agreed methodology and criteria, the biological risks associated with (a) activities involving GMOs or pathogens (disease-causing organisms) in closed environments (laboratories, animal facilities, greenhouses, production units…), (b) field trials or clinical trials with GMOs, and (c) marketing of GMOs.

Scientific support: We provide permanent scientific support to the Belgian federal and regional authorities. As secretariat we ensure administrative and scientific support to the Belgian Biosafety Advisory Council. We keep our scientific knowledge updated by regularly attending trainings, following-up of literature and participation in scientific meetings. For specific issues we rely on the expertise of Belgian and foreign scientists.

International player: We actively participate in the work of European and international bodies dealing with biosafety matters (e.g. EFSA, EMA, OECD, UN), and contribute to the work of professional organizations active in the field of biosafety.

Scientific research and networking: We perform surveys and literature reviews on biosafety topics and participate in research projects at Belgian and European level.

Communication and information: We strive to meet the needs of stakeholders and the general public via different forms of communication: websites, scientific papers and reports, events, teaching or training activities.

Are you involved in activities with GMOs or pathogens? Do you want to know more about procedural, regulatory and scientific aspects of biosafety? Visit the “Belgian Biosafety Server”, a website managed by the SBB since 1996.

Information sources selected for you

Other websites selected for you

  • Belgian Biosafety Server (BBS) | A reference website dedicated to regulatory and scientific information in relation to biosafety and GMOs (Belgian, European and international context)
  • Biosafety Advisory Council | Advisory body for the Belgian authorities in the area of biosafety
  • Belgian Biosafety Clearing House (BBCH) | Belgian node of the BCH, the internet platform facilitating the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information relating to GMOs within the framework of the Cartagena Protocol (in English only)

Recognised as

Belgian focal point for the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity (United Nations Treaty)

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