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Genetically modified organisms

A genetically modified organism (GMO) is defined as "an organism in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination".

This is according to Article 2 of the deliberate release Directive 2001/18/EC.

We take the most restrictive stance possible to Genetically Modified (GM) crops that is consistent with European and UK law. Our mission is to develop policies to underpin this stance, and to take them forward and convey them in both UK and EU arenas. European legislation governing the use of GM crops makes it clear that all forms of agriculture, be it conventional, organic or 'agriculture using genetically modified organisms' must be allowed to coexist within the EU. Consequently, a blanket ban on GM crop cultivation by the Assembly would be considered illegal.

Wales is a founder member of GM Free Network of Regions, which was established by 10 European regions in 2003. The Network is now made up of 53 European Regions and local authorities. The Welsh Government sits on the Network's steering group. The role of the Network is to share information about the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops.  The Network is also trying to introduce GMO-free areas in Europe that are recognised by European law.

Contact details

Nature Environment and Agriculture Team
Welsh Government
Rhodfa Padarn
Llanbadarn Fawr
SY23 3UR


Useful external GMO links