Developing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) if there's no Brexit deal

Rules and processes for the marketing, trials or release of GMOs, if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Rules after the UK leaves the EU

After the UK leaves the EU, the same controls on the environmental release of GMOs will continue to apply. They will be implemented by the competent authorities in the UK. These are:

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

Authorisation for trial release of GMOs

You must get prior authorisation before you carry out a trial release of a GMO. This is the same as existing requirements.

Get authorisation from the competent authority that is responsible for the country in which the GMO trial is proposed to take place.

Approval for marketing GMOs

You must get prior approval to market GMOs that are intended 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.

Approval for a trial or marketing release will only be given if there are no safety concerns. The UK competent authorities will apply a risk assessment process which will be equivalent to what exists now.

Trading GMOs

All EU marketing authorisations for GMOs in force when the UK leaves the EU 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 intended for commercial release into the EU environment if the GMO is approved for marketing in the EU.

Businesses will only be able to import GMOs intended for release into the UK environment if the GMO is approved for marketing in the UK.

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

Published 21 March 2019