GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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Stakeholder input wanted: survey on research needs for assessing GMO impacts 

Shaping the Future of GMO Research

Stakeholder with interests in the risk and/or benefit assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are invited to take part in an online survey.

The aim of this survey is to identify which research needs should be prioritised, thereby contributing to the commissioning of research on the health, environment and economic impacts of GMOs.

The survey will close on 15th July 2015.

More information and access to the online survey

The setting-up of this website was financially supported by the European Union within the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme from 1 January 2005 until 28 February 2007.

The European Commission and other EU agencies are not responsible for the content.
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EU-Law Overview

The Two Laws Governing Genetically Modified Plants

There are two different set of rules governing the authorisation of genetically modified products in the EU: one is for the use of GM plants, while the other is for food and feed made from them.

EU-Regulation Directive on the Deliberate Release into the Environment of Genetically Modified Organisms (2001/18) Regulation on Genetically Modified Food and Feed (1829/2003)
Scope of applicationCommercial use of a GM plant (that is able to reproduce); release into the environment involved with growing the plant or importing plant materialFood and feed that was made from or contains GM plants
In effect since17 April 200119 April 2004

Adoption by federal governements

Deadline expired on 17 October 2002not needed; regulations directly apply to all Member States
Former regulationsRelease Directive (90/220)Regulation on novel foods (258/97)
Safety requirementsNo harmful effects on humans or environment (environmental impact assessment)No harmful effects on human or animal health or on the environment

not mislead the consumer

Requirements for authorisationScientific safety assessment

Standardised method for detecting the GMO


Scientific safety assessment: just as safe as a comparable conventional product


Detection Method

Post-market monitoring (not mandatory)

Proceedings*Submit application to federal authorities

Initial assessment (scientific opinion) by national agencies

Documents forwarded to the national authorities of the Member States and to the European Commission

In the case of objections and open questions:Safety assessments at the EU level (EFSA)

Application submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

scientific evaluation from expert committee

recommendation made by EFSA

Decision for authorisationDraft for decision from the European Commission

Vote in the "Standing Committee for the Food Chain and Food Safety" (Member States): The European Commission's draft may be accepted or rejected with a qualified majority.

If no qualified majority can be reached, the European Commission submits its draft to the Council of Ministers.

Vote in the Council of Ministers: Approval or rejection by qualified majority - without qualified majority the Commission's draft takes effect.

Authorisation expires after:10 Years10 Years
Existing authorisations granted based on old regulationsExisting authorisations remain in effect. Processes pending that were begun when old regulations (90/220) were still in effect will be completed according to the new regulations. Applications must be supplemented with additional information.Authorised products of GMOs can be considered "existing products" after providing some additional information. The authorisation must be renewed within nine years from the original date of authorisation.



* Applications seeking authorisation according to the directive on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms (2001/18) may select one of two options: Along with the possibility outlined above (submitting application to federal authorties), applicants may submit an application directly to EFSA. The proceedings would then continue according to regulation 1829/2003.


An EU Research Project

What are the risks of growing GM crops?

What are the benefits?

Numerous studies have addressed the potential impacts of genetically modified (GM) plants. Yet the existing evidence on the effects of GM plants is often contradictory and the quality of scientific research varies widely.

Therefore, the GRACE project will establish new tools for assessing the quality of existing studies and will conduct comprehensive reviews to identify health, environmental and socio-economic impacts of GM plants.

More information


GMO Soybeans & Sustainability

Less soil erosion and fuel consumption: herbicide tolerant soybeans are promoting sustainable cultivation methods.


Glyphosate in European agriculture

Interview with a farmer

Glyphosate containing herbicides are not only used in fields with GM crops. They also allow conventional farmers to sow directly into stubble fields without ploughing. Glyphosate has replaced mechanical weed control in many crops and has had an important impact on agricultural practices and crop yields in Europe over the past few decades.

European Glyphosate Task Force

February 15, 2006 [nach oben springen]

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