§ Mr. Rooker
[holding answer 3 November 1998]: Controls over the release and marketing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are harmonised across the EU by Directive 90/220/EEC. The information requirements to evaluate the safety of GMO releases are set out in this Directive. However, each consent application is reviewed on a case by case basis and trials procedures may vary according to the characteristics of the GMO and the receiving environment.
Furthermore, no genetically modified plant variety may enter tests and trials for National List purposes unless and until a release consent has been issued under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the regulations made under it. The UK's National List system implements EU Directives 70/457/EEC and 70/458/EEC which harmonises the requirement to establish that varieties are distinct, uniform and stable (DUS) and, for the main agricultural species, that they have a value for cultivation and use (VCU) before being entered on a National List. The National List system has no role in considering the environmental or human safety aspects of genetic modification.
§ Mr. Rooker
[holding answer 3 November 1998]: I have no plans to extend the period of tests required for National List purposes.
National List tests and trials are aimed solely at establishing whether candidate varieties are distinct, uniform and stable (DUS) and have value for cultivation and use (VCU) in the UK. The National List system has no role in addressing the environmental or human safety aspects of genetically modification. Genetically modified plant varieties may not enter National List tests and trials unless and until they have the appropriate release consent under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the regulations made under it. For most varieties, National List tests and trials normally last two years, though this period may be extended if necessary to provide the required information to establish DUS and VCU.
§ Mr. Rooker
[holding answer 3 November 1998]: The Supply Chain Initiative on Modified Agricultural Crops (SCIMAC) is an industry grouping, which has drawn up guidelines to promote best practice in the growing of genetically modified crops. The Government have welcomed these guidelines as a complement to the statutory controls, but will not give them endorsement until they are satisfied that the industry has implemented measures to secure compliance. It is for the industry to decide what consultations to carry out, and we have impressed upon them the importance of an open and transparent approach.