AFSSA, the French Agency of medical security of food organises a symposium entitled "GMO & food: can health benefits be evaluated?" Debates on GMOs deal with two main questions: are GMOs dangerous? Are they useful? These are two classical approaches when assessing benefits and risks. Despite their difficulties, the evaluation processes of risks linked to GMOs can be based on the methodology used with other products, in a national or European framework. The assessment of their usefulness based on potential sanitary benefits raises questions in terms of techniques and principles. Health benefits of GMOs are brought forward: nutritional benefits, elimination of some natural harmful characteristics for health, lower use of pesticides aimed at reducing the consumer's exposure to these substances, enrichment with essential nutrients. Are such benefits identifiable? What are the most pertinent methods to evaluate them? This scientific symposium aims at reviewing all data regarding the potential benefit of current or future GMOs, within the field of competence of the French agency for food safety. The symposium brings together scientists from various fields, taking into account the many aspects concerning microbiology, toxicology, allergenicity, nutrition, and more. The symposium will be held at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, December 17-18, 2001. More information is available on AFSSA web site.