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Genetically Modified Organisms

‚Äč‚ÄčIreland, in common with all Member States is bound to the common legal framework for assessment and control of GMOs within the EU. Legislation on GMOs, is focused on the following objectives:

  • To protect human and animal health and the environment
  • To ensure harmonised procedures that are efficient and transparent for risk assessment and authorisations of GMOs
  • To ensure clear labelling of GMOs placed on the market for consumers to make informed choices and
  • To ensure traceability of GMOs placed on the market.

Further information on the EU regulatory framework on GMOs is available from the European Union's website    

Due to the complex nature of GMOs including cultivation, food and feed and its contained use including research and development purposes, responsibility for GMO policy and regulation in Ireland rests across a range of Government Departments and Agencies including:

 

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE)

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment has responsibility for policy matters in relation to EU Directives on the deliberate release of GMOs into the environment and the contained use of GMOs.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
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, at the Agency headquarters during office hours.

Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI)
The FSAI is the competent authority for the implementation of legislation governing GM food and the Department of Health (DoH) is responsible for policy in this area. As competent authority, the FSAI ensures that only EU-authorised GM foods are allowed on the market and that they are labelled appropriately.

Department of Health (DOH)
The Department of Health deal with policy concerning issues such as food information to customers, labelling Genetically Modified Foods and other food safety matters.

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine  is the competent authority for the implementation of legislation governing GM food and feed for the agri-sector in Ireland  to provide a high level of protection for animal health and human health, and environmental and consumer interest.  
 
Legislation
The potential environmental impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is regulated under the following pieces of legislation;

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).

EU Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms which was transposed into Irish Law as the GMO (Deliberate Release) Regulations (S.I. No 500 of 2003). EU Directive 2001/18/EC repealed Council Directive 90/220/EC and has been amended on several occasions including by the following Regulations and Directives:

                • Commission Directive (EU) 2018/350 of 8 March 2018 amending Directive 2001/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the environmental risk assessment of genetically modified organisms;
                • Directive (EU) 2015/412 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2015 amending Directive 2001/18/EC as regards the possibility for the Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their territory;
        • Directive 2008/27/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 amending Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms, as regards the implementing powers conferred on the Commission;
        • Regulation (EC)1830/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 concerning the traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms and the traceability of food and feed products produced from genetically modified organisms and amending Directive 2001/18/EC.

S.I. No 500 of 2003 was amended by the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (S.I. No. 506 of 2019) in order to align Irish Law with Commission Directive (EU) 2018/350.

Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 on genetically modified food and feed;

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).


 

DCCAE Contact Details
For further information please email: environmentpolicy@dccae.gov.ie