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Genetically Modified Organisms

In Estonia the regulation of the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO-s) is divided between three Ministries:

The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for deliberate release of genetically modified organisms into the environment and the issue of marketing permits of products composed of or containing genetically modified organisms,

The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the handling and marketing permits of novel foods (incl. genetically modified food), for the issue of permits for use of seeds and plant propagating material, fertilizers, feedingstuffs and for the issue of permits for conducting animal experiments,

The Ministry of Social Affairs is responsible for the issue of permits for contained use of genetically modified microorganisms.

There are two advisory committees in Estonia, who perform risk analysis of genetically modified organisms and products composed of or containing such organisms – the committee of gene technology (in the Ministry of the Environment) and the committee of novel food (in the Ministry of Agriculture), which performs also risk analysis of the products derived from genetically modified organisms, but not containing such organisms.

The task of the committee of gene technology is to counsel government authorities in the issues of gene technology:

in the issues of deliberate release of GMO-s (including genetically modified novel food, genetically modified seeds, fertilizers and animal feedingstuffs) into the environment;

in the issues of marketing of products composed of or containing GMO-s  (including genetically modified novel food, genetically modified seeds, fertilizers and animal feedingstuffs), 

in the issues related to conducting animal experiments with genetically modified animals,

in the issues of contained use of genetically modified microorganisms.

The task of the committee of novel food is to give their opinion about the conformity with the requirements of novel food, the proposals made for marking novel food and about the issue or refusal to issue a permit for the handling of novel foods on the basis of the application for a permit for the handling of novel foods and the attached data submitted to the Veterinary and Food Board.     

Last modified 1. February 2011

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