Food Law News - UK - 2002

DEFRA Press Release (419/02), 17 October 2002

GMO - Strengthened GMO Safety Legislation For England

The Government today announced the entry into force of new English Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 2002.

The new regulations transpose EU Directive 2001/18 on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms. Similar regulations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will follow shortly.

Directive 2001/18 and the new regulations strengthen the existing legislation for assessing the safety of GMOs, and improve transparency and public consultation. The new regime applies to applications for commercial releases of GMOs, and research trial releases. It will provide a more robust framework for taking safety-based decisions on whether to allow, or to prevent, the release of GMOs in England and the EU.

Among other things, the new regime introduces:

Environment Minister Michael Meacher said:
"We welcome the entry into force of Directive 2001/18, and the new regulations that implement it in England. The new Directive clarifies and improves the existing EU regulatory framework under which decisions are taken on whether to allow, or to prevent, proposed releases of GMOs.

The new regime provides an increased level of protection to consumers and the environment from any potential risks posed by GMOs. It also takes large steps towards improving transparency and public involvement in decision making.

In the absence of any significant commercial growing of GM crops in Europe, it is particularly welcome that the new Directive will apply to proposed imports of GMOs that may enter the UK from outside the EU. An increasing area of the world's farmland is being used to grow GM crops, and a large proportion of some key agricultural commodities are now GMOs. We need to ensure that such imports are subject to the stringent standards of Directive 2001/18."

The following additional notes are provided:

To go to main Foodlaw-Reading Index page, click here.