Brexit affects the import, export and authorisation procedures of GMOs

4.1.2021 16.33
Press release

The withdrawal of UK from the EU, i.e. Brexit, will affect the import and export of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as of 1.1.2021.

The withdrawal of UK (UK and Northern Ireland) from the EU, i.e. Brexit, will affect the import and export of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as of 1.1.2021. All operators of open or contained use, as well as companies importing or exporting GMOs between the UK and Finland, should investigate the effects of the withdrawal in terms of their own activities.


From 1.1.2021, the UK will no longer be in the EU internal market and will not participate in the authorisation and risk assessment procedures for GMOs in the EU. GMOs imported from and transiting through the UK are now subject to normal GMO regulations for third country imports. The labelling of products imported or exported, including products containing genetically modified organisms, has been agreed in the withdrawal agreement. As the UK is a party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the import, export and transit of GMOs after Brexit follows the practices set out in that Protocol. See https://geenitekniikanlautakunta.fi/en/import-export1 for more information. In addition, the holder or applicant of a marketing authorisation for a GMO product must have a place of employment in an EU Member State or an EEA State. See further notice on https://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/gmo/legislation_en and https://ec.europa.eu/info/files/brexit-notice_gmo_en.


N.B.! On 25.7.2018, the European Court of Justice issued a decision on the legal status of mutagenesis technologies in the EU. According to the ruling, the EU GMO Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release of GMOs into the environment is applied for the new mutagenesis techniques. When importing live organisms, it must be established beforehand whether the organisms in question have been modified using new mutagenesis techniques or traditional genetic engineering. If so, additional information on the obligations for authorization, labelling and transport required for imports and exports is available from the national competent GMO authorities.


If the genetically modified organisms to be exported or imported contain genetic resources for which the Nagoya Protocol applies, further information is available from the national competent authorities for genetic resources in Finland and the national competent authorities for genetic resources in UK.

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