Guidance on the Genetic Modification Inspectorate seed audit programme for companies importing or marketing seed.
You must get authorisation to import or market genetically modified (GM) seeds in the UK for commercial purposes.
Companies importing or producing conventional seed in the UK must have appropriate controls in place to minimise the risk of adventitious GM presence (the unexpected, accidental or unplanned occurrence of GM seeds) in the seed for sowing.
GM seed audits are carried out by, or on behalf of, the competent authorities of the UK. These are in:
- England – the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
- Northern Ireland – the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)
- Scotland – the Scottish Government
- Wales – the Welsh Government
This guidance is about the seed audit programme in England.
For information on GMO services in Scotland, contact the SASA Genetic Modification Inspectorate.
Seed audit programme
The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Genetic Modification Inspectorate seed audit programme helps companies in England comply with the rules on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in seed. It helps ensure these companies have evidence of the actions they take to comply with these rules.
The audits include seeds that are to be:
- marketed for commercial production
- used for trial purposes
The audits are carried out on behalf of Defra and participation is voluntary.
These documents provide further information on the audit programme and explain the information that seed producers, importers and suppliers should obtain to show that they’ve taken appropriate steps to minimise the risk of GM seeds in seed for sowing.
A GM Inspector will check this information during an audit.
The guidance is updated annually before the next round of audits programme begins.
Audit summary reports
After a seed audit is completed, a detailed report is submitted to Defra showing:
- the names of varieties imported or produced by the seed company
- the assurances provided by them for each seed lot or batch
A summary of these audit reports are published.
Previous reports are available on the archived Genetic Modification Inspectorate web pages.
Contact the Genetic Modification Inspectorate:
- for information about the seed audit programme
- for timings of seed audits
- if you have concerns or information about unauthorised GMOs that you believe may have been released in England
Animal and Plant Health Agency