Written answers

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Genetically Modified Organisms

Photo of Arthur SpringArthur Spring (Kerry North-West Limerick, Labour)
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195. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his position in relation to GMO/GE crops in view of the increasing number of countries worldwide banning such crops; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28361/13]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Minister, Department of Agriculture, the Marine and Food; Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Genetic modification is a science-based technology which, in the case of plants, alters the gene structure in a way that does not occur naturally through fertilisation or natural recombination. This modification confers certain traits to the plant that can be advantageous to agriculture and food production.

The issue of genetic modification is dealt with by three State agencies in Ireland. In summary:

- Issues relating to GM foods come under the remit of the Minister for Health and Children (DHC) and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI);

- GM feeds and the coexistence of authorised GM crops alongside non-GM crops rest with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM);

- Approval to trial GM crops or authorise new GM crops for deliberate release into the environment rests with the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DEHLG) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Minister's and the Department's sole responsibility with regard to the cultivation of GM crops relates to coexistence measures in the event that commercial GM crops are grown alongside conventional crops.

Only one product, a GM maize (MON 810) is authorised for cultivation in the EU but it is not grown in Ireland.

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