Genetically modified organisms

The "Genetically modified organisms" (GMOs) fact sheet quantifies the deliberate release of GMOs into the environment and the placing on the market of products containing or consisting of GMOs.
Description: 

Protecting human health and the environment demands particular attention to risks related to the use of biotechnologies, particularly to products that result from the genetic modification of living organisms. The release of GMOs into the environment and the marketing of products containing or consisting of GMOs should, therefore, include instruments that allow a thorough assessment of the risks involved.

The deliberate release of GMOs into the environment and the placing on the market of products containing or consisting of GMOs are regulated by the Decree-Law no. 72/2003 which transposed the Directive 2001/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council into national law.

In the European Union (EU) there is only one GMO authorised for cultivation – maize event MON810 – which is cultivated in the following countries: Portugal and Spain.

The cultivation of GMOs is regulated by the Decree-Law no. 160/2005, which regulates the cultivation of genetically modified varieties, in order to ensure their coexistence with conventional crops and with organic production, establishing the administrative and technical rules that should be complied with, as part of the cultivation of these varieties.

This fact sheet concerns mainland Portugal and the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores and shall be updated on an annual basis.

Objectives and targets: 
  • Take preventive action at the source, assessing the risk for human health and the environment of the experimental trials, cultivation and placing on the market of GMOs and increase the effectiveness and transparency of the authorisation procedure for the deliberate release into the environment and placing on the market of these organisms [Decree-Law no. 72/2003];
  • Ensure compliance with the minimum isolation distance between crops, safeguarding the coexistence of genetically modified crops with other agricultural production systems [Decree-Law no. 160/2005];
  • Ensure the labelling and traceability of the GMOs throughout the entire food chain [Decree-Law no. 168/2004].
Progress analysis:
Last update: 
Monday, 25 March, 2019