Home > GM Foods Around the World > UK Laws and GM Foods

UK Laws and GM Foods

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 31 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Uk Laws Gm Foods Rules Health And Safety

The United Kingdom (UK) has relatively strict laws on genetically modified (GM) foods in comparison with many other countries in the world. These kinds of foods and similar novel food products may only be marketed and produced after being approved for health and safety through a strict assessment of the food's safety and uses for consumption.

Evaluation Of GM Foods In The UK

Any GM food to be marketed in the UK has to be carefully evaluated for health and safety as well as authorised in accordance with the Regulation 1829/2003, which governs GM foods and GM feed. The document was approved for use in 2004 and it outlines the procedures for GM foods in the UK. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assesses food safety and it follows the EFSA's protocol for UK laws and assessing GM foods.

Reviewing Applications For GM Food Approval

Every single application that is received has to be thoroughly reviewed on an individual basis according to UK laws and rules. Any possible toxicity or effects relating to nutrition or allergies must be weighed before the product can be approved. A GM food can only be allowed for production and marketing if the application shows that it is not going to trigger any health concerns or be less nutritionally complete than a conventional crop of the same kind.

Liaising With Other Authorities

As part of the process of approving a GM food, the EFSA might need to speak to other authorities that play a role in the rules around food safety in Europe. The UK's foremost authority on food safety is the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The FSA provides evidence-based advice on GM foods – primarily from the Independent Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) whenever the FSA sees it relevant for examining a GM food.

Other Issues In The UK Approval Of GM Foods

If the GM food in question involves cultivating a GM crop for feed, human food consumption or importing any GM plants and seeds, the EFSA will then converse with national agencies who have designation under Directive 2001/18/EC. In turn, any GM products that might knowingly be released in the environment can be carefully investigated. In the UK, a key organisation in this aspect is the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Making The Final Decision About GM Foods

The EFSA will publish its own decision on an application before the GM food is fully authorised. The aim of this kind of publication is to allow the public an opportunity to make comments on the GM food in question and bring any issues to light under UK laws. However, the ultimate decision on whether the GM food is approved is under the responsibility of Member States. The Member States are able to vote on a GM food.

While GM foods continue to be a controversial subject, the UK and European Laws are quite clear on how a GM product must receive a detailed assessment and analysis prior to approval for animal feed or human consumption. The aim is to safeguard public health while encouraging new crops and products that may prove beneficial to the public.

Still, those against GM foods believe that the unintended effects of such crops simply can't be measured and understood prior to approval, which would thus render any regulatory process – no matter how stringent – useless. For now though, the current regulations do appear to be the best ones available given the controversial circumstances.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • capitalistic bastard
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    If god is real then he would accept all his children. Including the lizard people and the angry demimgod Xenu. And I think he would…
    27 April 2017
  • dunno
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Okay seriously calm down for one we don't know if god is real or not because we don't have solid proof except for "man's" word and we…
    25 April 2017
  • dragonhunter
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    i think that they can help alot.
    24 April 2017
  • Communist66642069
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Why is everyone ignoring the fact that regarldess of the GMOs There are alien lizards ruling our governmentthey are the only god in…
    4 April 2017
  • fc222 IS WRONG
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    Attention. I have made another mistake. I assure that this will not happen again, and I thank you for your understanding. The previous…
    31 March 2017
  • poopy
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    this is a very cool they i love it its amazing
    30 March 2017
  • feministchristian222
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    This is the nickname I meant to set in my previous statement. I apear to have made a mistake, which will not happen again
    29 March 2017
  • feministchristian222
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    In this essay, I aim to explain why feministchristian222 has lied to you all. My first point is that God is decisively not real. After…
    29 March 2017
  • Heavenlord666
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    I agree with feminist christian. My son is now gay.
    29 March 2017
  • feministchristian222
    Re: Fact Sheet: Pros vs Cons
    gm crops are against the bibles rules. we should never mess with the eternal one's plan for us. if he says that normal rice should make…
    29 March 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the GeneticallyModifiedFoods website. Please read our Disclaimer.