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Inspection and control in accordance with GMO legislation

The Federal States are responsible for controlling compliance with the laws and regulations for handling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Germany. This inspection is carried out both during the process of official control of food and feed, and as part of the official genetic engineering inspection process.

Official genetic engineering control includes the following tasks: Inspecting conventional seeds for GMO content, inspecting GMO releases (field tests), and inspection of the cultivation of GMOs (placing on the market) as well as inspection of genetic engineering facilities and operations. The tests carried out on products in the course of the official control procedures for food and feed include testing for GMO content. In addition, adherence to the regulations on the labelling and traceability of GMOs “from fork to field” and vice versa is controlled in all operational areas.

Control of conventional seeds for presence of GMO takes place at the earliest possible stage. Sampling and detection methods prevent conventional seed consignments containing GMO from being sown in the EU without the required approval for cultivation. The BVL has a strong involvement in developing strategies for inspection and control of seeds for the presence of GMO.

Inspection for release projects primarily deals with checking whether the GMOs approved for release are being used and compliance with the conditions attached to the official authorisation. These conditions include measures to ensure that no genetically modified plants remain on the release site after completion of the field trial. All sites in which GMOs are released in Germany are included in the GMO location register, which is maintained by the BVL.

In cases where approval has been granted for the cultivation of GMOs (in the context of placing on the market), in addition to the regulations on labelling and traceability, the release site of the GMOs must be reported to the GMO location register.

Inspection carried out within genetic engineering facilities primarily focuses on controlling whether the GMOs listed in the laboratory records are the ones actually being used. Controls are also carried out on the equipment in the genetic engineering facilities in order to establish whether this corresponds to the stipulated containment levels.

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