Questions & answers on GMO ‘existing products’ register

19 octobre 2021 Pierre Perrin-Monlouis

What are GM existing products?

“Existing products” are GMOs that were lawfully placed on the EU market before the entry into force of Regulation 1829/2003 on GM food and feed on 18 April 2004. They were either authorised under the EU environmental legislation and/or food and feed legislation applicable at the time, or were allowed to be placed on the market without any specific authorisation procedure. For example, before the new legislative framework for authorising GMOs entered into effect, feed materials or food additives produced from GMOs did not need specific authorisation.

Why has the Commission compiled a register of existing products?

Regulation 1829/2003 on GM food and feed required all existing products to be notified to the Commission before 18 October 2004. In their notifications, operators had to submit similar information as is required for an application for a new product authorisation under the Regulation. The Commission and Joint Research Centre then examined the information to decide whether or not the GMO existing product should be added to the register. The aim of the register is to provide a clear picture of all GMOs that were on the EU market before the new legislation entered into force.

Does this mean there are unauthorised GMOs being sold in the EU?

All the GMOs on this register can be legally sold in the EU, and complied with the rules applicable at the time of entering the market. The publication of this register represents a formal recognition of these products under the EU’s new legislation on GMOs.

What GM existing products are listed in the register?

Twenty-six GM products have been included in the register – 12 varieties of maize, 6 of oilseed rape, 5 of cotton and one of soybean, one biomass and one yeast cream.

Are all GM existing products included in the register?

A few GM existing products were not notified to the Commission by the deadline, and therefore cannot be sold in the EU. The primary reason that notifications were not submitted for these products is that they are no longer sold in the EU. Therefore, they do not need to be included in the register and their withdrawal is therefore a purely procedural act.

Are all the existing products on the register now being sold in the EU?

No. The register clarifies what GMOs were lawfully put on the market before the entry into force of the new Regulation. However, in some cases, these GMOs are not currently being sold in the EU.

Once on the register, what are the terms for staying on the EU market?

Once entered in the register, the existing products can remain on the market for a set period of between 3 and 9 years. After this time, an application for renewal of the authorisation must be submitted. The existing products on the register are also subject to the strict labelling and traceability rules for all GMOs under the new EU legislation.

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