Developing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from 1 January 2021

How to market, trial and release GMOs from 1 January 2021.

New rules for January 2021

The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

What happens from 1 January 2021

The current controls on the environmental release of GMOs will apply from 1 January 2021. They will be implemented by the competent authorities in the UK.

These are:

  • England – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • Northern Ireland – Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)
  • Scotland – Scottish Government
  • Wales – Welsh Government

Get authorisation for trial release of GMOs

You must get authorisation before you carry out a trial release of a GMO.

You must apply to the competent authority for the country in which the GMO trial is proposed to take place.

Get approval for marketing GMOs

You must get approval before you market GMOs for environmental release.

You’ll need separate authorisation from each of the UK competent authorities that are responsible for the countries in which you intend to market the GMO.

You’ll only get approval for a trial or marketing release if there are no safety concerns. The competent authorities will apply a risk assessment using the current process.

Trading GMOs

All EU marketing authorisations for GMOs that are in force on 1 January 2021 will continue to apply in the UK until they expire. Find details of the EU authorised GMOs on the GMO register.

You’ll only be able to export GMO products for commercial release into the EU environment if they are approved for marketing in the EU.

There will be no changes to the rules on exporting GMOs from the UK for environmental release in non-EU countries.

You’ll only be able to import GMOs for release into the UK environment if they’re approved for marketing in the UK.

Contact your competent authority

Published 14 October 2020
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