A new regulation concerning the commercial use of genetically
modified organisms, or GMOs, prepared under the law for biosafety,
was announced in the Official Gazette on Friday.
According to the announcement, the regulation will become effective
as of Sept. 26.
The regulation by the Agriculture Ministry involves adjustments
on a legal basis about applications for GMO sales, imports and
exports, the evaluation of applications, decisions after the
evaluation process, legal monitoring and control of the products
launched in the market, the process of marketing to prevent
consequences stemming from GMO use, as well as protecting human,
animal and plant health in addition to environmental and biological
The regulation also determines the rules to maintain well-controlled
research for developmental or experimental purposes on GMOs
to prevent the risks to the environment and organisms.
The enduring legal framework until the new regulation and the
law for biosafety, which was prepared by the Agriculture Ministry
in September 2009 in line with the comestibles law and which
triggered a lasting controversy in public opinion, has been
abolished with the ratification of the new regulation.
According to the previous regulation the Scientific Committee
decided positively on imports of genetically modified bacteria
to be used as an additive for animal food and ferment.
Until the new regulation becomes effective, the old framework
will apply to the use of GMOs in veterinary services, plant
health and comestibles and animal food.
New regulation’s articles for imports and exports
According to the new regulation, the import of GMOs necessitates
an official document prepared by the authorities of the source
country or a chemical analysis from an internationally accredited
laboratory. The regulation enables the ministry to carry our
analyses aiming for control or supervision as only the products
yielding positive results will be granted import permit.
The ministry will keep a record of these products as well as
the firms importing them. This practice will also apply to the
products imported without payment and used for public consumption.
The passage of GMOs through customs will be regulated by Customs
Undersecretary. The import of GMOs used other than for comestibles
and animal food production purposes will be carried out collaboratively
by the related ministry and institutions. The import of products
containing GMOs or GMO compounds will necessitate a prior authorization
of the GMO content.
For exports, on the other hand, the procedure will go in line
with the demands of the purchasing country and the ministry
will keep record of the GMOs permitted to be exported. The transit
passages will be carried out according to the terms and conditions
of the ministry’s written permit and to Customs Law and
passages will necessitate measures be taken to prevent GMO contamination
in the environment, like sealing the transportation vehicles.
The ministry will control and supervise whether the measures
are taken and keep a record of the results.
New regulation’s articles for market launch
GMOs will be produced and stored according to indoor conditions
and standards determined by the Scientific Committee and considering
the risk classifications.
Provided that a products containing GMO or GMO compound is
to be launched in the market after the authorization of the
ministry, it will have to fulfill the necessities of the Turkish
Food Codex and also the package of the product will visibly
bear the inscription that the product contains GMO or is produced
out of GMO compound.
In the event of violation of the terms of the regulation, or
if new scientific data emerges about the potential risks of
using GMOs and products with GMO content, the decision concerning
the products may be canceled by the Scientific Committee and
the products will be withdrawn from the market.
The regulation will be effective as of Sept. 26. In the event
that the application process regarding the GMOs is not finished
by then will be finalized according to the new regulation.