RIKILT-Institute of Food Safety (RIKILT), The Netherlands

RIKILT-Institute of Food Safety (RIKILT), The Netherlands

RIKILT-Institute of Food Safety (total staff of 200) is an independent non-profit institute conducting research on the detection and identification of contaminants (including GMOs) in food and feed, and the interactions of these substances within the food chain. The institute contributes to the monitoring of production chains, the quality of agricultural products, and the knowledge of health-protecting substances in our food and to a sustainable environment. It carries out legislative and policy-supporting tasks for the Dutch government and international bodies, including the European Commission and EFSA.

Staff members:

  • Gijs A. Kleter , PhD
  • Esther J. Kok, PhD

Gijs A. Kleter has longstanding expertise in the area of GMOs and has participated in many European projects related to issues of traceability and safety assessment of GMOs. He is specialized in the scientific assessment of GM food and feed in the frame of regulatory market applications, while also working on emerging food safety risks. He is member of a team that advises national and EU authorities on the safety of GM products. As a Panel expert, he is a full member of the EFSA GMO Panel. He also leads a project for IUPAC on the impact of transgenic crops and participates, as delegate, in other international fora (e.g. OECD) and, as tutor, in the international UNIDO post-graduate course on biosafety.  He was previously involved in ENTRANSFOOD and SAFE FOODS, for example, and participates in the management of the PEGASUS project on GM animals

Dr. Esther J. Kok  is head of the Department of Novel Foods and Agrichains. She has broad expertise as project leader in numerous projects in the area of, among others, the regulatory safety assessment of GM foods, detection of GMOs, and the traceability of GMOs in food and feed supply chains.. She has coordinated an expert group within Wageningen University and Research Centre that focused on GMO coexistence and traceability issues in feed supply chains, which included all relevant expertise (plant breeding, food and feed supply chain analysis, animal feed production, economics, etc.). Her tasks include among others the supervision over the risk assessment of novel foods and GMOs, nationally and for EFSA (GMOs), as performed within RIKILT, as well as with respect to the detection and traceability of GMOs in feed supply chains,  Her international activities include the European Network of GMO Laboratories (ENGL), participation in different EFSA GMO-related Working Groups, several advisory committees in this area of expertise, and participation in several  EU projects (GMOCARE, Entransfood, Safefoods, Co-Extra and TRACE).

Selected publications:

  • Kok EJ, van Dijk JP, Prins TW, Kleter GA (2010) Safety assessment of GMO-derived foods. Collect. Biosafety Rev. 5:82-111.
  • G.A. Kleter, E.J. Kok (2010) Safety assessment of biotechnology used in animal production, including genetically modified (GM) feed and GM animals – a review. Anim. Sci. Pap. Rep. 28(2):105-114.
  • E.J. Kok, J. Keijer, G.A. Kleter, H.A. Kuiper (2008) Comparative safety assessment of plant-derived foods. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 50, 98-113.