Skip to main content

Gm Crops

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 5 June 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had with (a) biotechnology companies and (b) health and environmental campaign and voluntary groups regarding the future licensing of GM crops. [114024]

Ministers and officials have regular face-to-face, telephone and written communications with relevant stakeholders on GM crop issues. No central record is kept of these communications.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessments have been made of applications for marketing consents to the EU of GM crops by (a) her Department and (b) other member states; and what evidence was used in the assessments. [114027]

To date, 19 applications have been made under EU Directive 2001/18 for consent to place GMOs on the European single market. 10 of these are for GM crops intended for cultivation in the EU, and the other nine are for "import only"—i.e. of GM grain grown outside the EU intended for import into the EU for processing into products. In all 19 cases, the process of assessment is ongoing and no collective EU decisions have yet been made.EU Directive 2001/18 requires that applications to place GMOs on the market consist of a substantial dossier of information about the particular GMO and scientific evidence concerned with potential risks associated with the intended use. Summaries of these dossiers are published on a European Commission website at application must first be made to the authorities in one of the 15 EU member states, which must make an initial assessment of compliance with the safety standards required by the Directive. If the assessment is positive the application is referred to the European Commission, which then disseminates the assessment and its supporting evidence to other member states for EU-wide scrutiny and public consultation, leading to a collective decision by the European Commission and all 15 member states on whether or not a consent should be granted.Two of the 19 applications have been made in the UK. They both concern GMOs intended for "import only", and in both cases the UK authority is awaiting further information requested from the applicants before it makes its initial assessment.Of the remaining 17 applications made in other member states, three have received positive initial assessments and are being scrutinised at EU-level. The UK has forwarded opinions on two of these dossiers (published at, and will deliver its opinion on the other in due course. In both opinions, the UK asked the lead member state for further information to be required from the applicant before a final assessment can be made. The other 14 applications made in other member states have not yet received initial assessments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) of 1 May 2003, Official Report, column 465W, on GM crop trials, what plans she has for public consultation on the future licensing of GM crops after the results of all of the Government's current GM farm-scale evaluations are published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. [114161]

Currently we have no plans for a specific consultation exercise on the future licensing of GM crops after the publication of the results of the farm scale evaluations. Once published, the results of the crop trials will be in the public domain and people will be able to comment on them then.In addition, as each individual crop in the farm scale evaluations comes forward for licensing, the public has the opportunity to comment on every application during the two consultation periods specified in Directive 2001/18/EC, before decisions are taken on a case-by-case basis at EU level.