Genetically Modified Organisms

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Legislation

Legislation on GMOs is made taking account of the common framework  for assessment and control of GMOs by which Ireland, in common with all Member States, is bound. EU legislation on GMOs has been in place since the early 1990’s, and is focussed on two main objectives:

  • To protect human health and the environment.
  • To ensure the free movement of safe genetically modified products in the European Union.

The potential environmental impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is regulated under the following pieces of legislation for which the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government has overall responsibility -

  • EU Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms and repealing Council Directive 90/220/EC transposed into Irish law under the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 2003 (S.I. No. 500 of 2003).
  • EU Regulation 1830/2003 concerning the traceability and labelling of food and feed products produced from genetically modified organisms and amending Directive 2001/18/EC.
  • EU Directive 98/81/EC amending Directive 90/219/EEC on the contained use of genetically modified micro-organisms transposed into Irish law under the Genetically Modified (Contained Use) Regulations 2001 (S.I. No. 73 of 2001).
  • Regulation 1946/2003 on the transboundary movement of GMOs, transposed into Irish law under the Genetically Modified Organisms (Transboundary Movement) Regulations 2004 (S.I. No. 54 of 2004).

Further information on the EU regulatory framework on GMOs is available from the GMO section of the European Union site.

National Competent Authority

The Environmental Protection Agency is the competent authority for the purposes of the EU Directives and the national Regulations in this area. A register of GMO users in Ireland is maintained by the Agency and is open to the public for inspection.

EU Regulatory Framework on Modern Biotechnology

The EU Directives and Regulations for which the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government is responsible are part of the overall EU regulatory framework on modern biotechnology.  Other legislation is composed of:

Regulation 1829/2003 on the placing on the market of GMO food and feed or food and feed products containing or consisting of GMOs. The Department of Agriculture and Food and the Department of Health and Children are responsible for this Regulation in Ireland.

Contact Details

For further information please email: environmentpolicy@environ.ie.