The EU risk assessment regime for genetically engineered plants is flawed and must be updated, according to a new report.

Current regulation on GM disregarded how scientists' understanding of the way genes function had changed, said the study by German charity Testbiotech. It urged licensing authorities to use more rigorous 'crash testing' of plants' genetic stability.

"Invasive manipulation of genetic make-up triggers many more changes than the genetic engineering industry and its lobby are willing to admit," said director Christoph Then.

Testbiotech last week gave a copy of the report to the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health & Food Safety.

"It is time EFSA and the Commission took into account scientific opinions other than those submitted by biotech companies," said Corinne Lepage, the committee's vice chair.