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Brexit affects the import, export and authorisation procedures of GMOs

23.1.2019 10.32 | Published in English on 23.1.2019 at 10.54
Press release

Brexit affects the import, export and authorisation procedures of GMOs

Exit of the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland; hereafter UK) from the EU, i.e. Brexit, affects the import and export of genetically modified organisms (GMO) beginning from March 30th 2019. All contained use and deliberate release operators as well as companies exporting or importing GMOs between UK and Finland should find out the effects for their own operations well beforehand.

If the Brexit agreement is accepted, earlier import, export and labelling practices for GMOs will be applied during the Brexit transition period after 30.3.2019. However, UK cannot participate in the EU market approval and risk assessment procedures for GMOs any more. For the placing on the market of GMOs, the application or the authorization holder must designate a representative established in the European Union (or in one of the contracting states of the European Economic Area). See additional instructions, https://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/gmo/legislation_en and https://ec.europa.eu/info/files/brexit-notice_gmo_en.

If there is a no-deal Brexit, all the regular procedures for the import and labelling from third countries will be applied in the import and transit of GMOs from UK. As UK is a party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the practices of the Protocol are followed in the import, export and transit of GMOs after Brexit (additional information). Furthermore, the holder or applicant of the marketing permission of the GMO product must have a location in the EU member state.

N.B.! The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the judicial status of mutagenesis techniques in the EU on July 25th 2018. 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. For the present, it is unclear if the ECJ decision also applies to the contained use of new mutagenesis techniques. Importers of living organisms must in any case clarify beforehand if those organisms have been modified with traditional genetic engineering or with new mutagenesis techniques. If so, additional information on the obligations for authorization, labelling and transport for import and export is available from the national competent GMO authorities (http://bch.cbd.int/database/contacts/).

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