GMOs: clarifications on EU safety rules

the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety reminded of the main safety rules in relation to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in his answer of 20 January 2015 to a parliamentary question. In addition, the Commissioner pointed out that foodstuff obtained from animals fed with GMOs is not subject to the authorisation or labelling requirements.

Reminders from the Commissioner for Health & Food Safety

The Commissioner reminded that :

  • #1 – Member States have the possibility to restrict cultivation of GMOs in their territory, which however does not affect the requirement for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to carry out, with input from Member States, a stringent risk assessment for all GMOs prior to their authorisation.
  • #2 – Coexistence measures may be implemented by Member States according to the GMO legislation, in order to allow consumers and producers to choose between conventional, organic and GM production.
  • #3 – All food and feed consisting of, containing or produced from GMOs authorised in the EU must be labelled and that Member States cannot block the free circulation of such products within their territory unless they are able to prove scientifically that it constitutes a risk to human health or the environment.

Regulatory background

As a reminder, in a press release dated 13 January 2015, the European Parliament (EP) announced that it has adopted in second reading a draft directive giving Member States (MS) more flexibility to decide whether or not they want that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are grown on their territory. The text aims to amend Directive 2001/18/EC of 12 March 2001 on the deliberate release of GMOs into the environment. The EP has mainly added a provision to ensure that Member States prevent transboundary contamination of GM crops (paragraph 1a added to Article 26a).

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