Since Directive 2001/18/EC, which includes a fairly broad definition of GMOs, came into force, research in the area of genetic technology has moved on apace. For example, a procedure has recently been developed which enables scientists to alter the genome of a cell. What is more, some farmers now have genetically modified livestock in their fields.
Is the Commission working on a legally watertight, updated definition of GMOs?
Does the Commission take the view that directive 2001/18/EC covers the animal production sector properly?
The deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified animals is covered by Directive 2001/18/EC(1) and must fulfil the substantial and procedural requirements set out in this directive. No genetically modified (GM) livestock animals for commercial purposes have been approved in the EU so far, no application for such authorisation has been submitted and the Commission is not aware of the unauthorised release of GM livestock on farms.
The Commission is currently conducting a legal analysis of the definition in the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) legislation. Conclusions cannot be anticipated.
The Commission does not currently consider a revision of the definition of GMOs in the EU legislation.
(1) OJ L 106, 17.4.2001, p. 1.