Legal basis

Combine during harvest work in summer
Photo: BMLRT

Legislation related to genetic engineering as enacted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management

The legal basis

Before generally modified products are officially authorised, they are subject to strict testing to examine their potential impact on human health and the environment.

The Austrian Genetic Engineering Act of 1994 formalizes authorisations for the implementation of experimental releases in Austria (trials in the field with genetically modified organisms - GMOs) and for placing GMOs on the market. The Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) is the authority in charge of genetic engineering. All national and EU legislation relating to genetic engineering can be retrieved using the Link Legislation.

Legislation related to genetic engineering as enacted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management:

Ordinance on Genetically Modified Seed (Saatgut-Gentechnik-Verordnung)

The Ordinance on Genetically Modified Seed (Federal Law Gazette II No 478/2001) provides that, in Austria, GMO-free seed must be available where accidental or technically unavoidable GMO contamination does not exceed the threshold value of 0.1.%.

Link: Measures to reduce GMO contamination in seed + Ordinance

Ordinance on Arable Land for the Production of Seed (Saatgut-Anbaugebiete-Verordnung)

On the basis of the authorisation to issue ordinances provided by the Seed Act (Saatgutgesetz), an ordinance was adopted with a view to protecting seed quality. This ordinance designates specific varieties for which closed-off arable land can be required to ensure seed certification. This subject matter falls within the remit of the Federal Provinces. For the time being, related regulations only exist in Styria.

Provincial Law Gazette No 31/1968 as amended by Provincial Law Gazette No 58/2000 on the protection and promotion of hybrid maize and rye seed production.

Genetic engineering precautionary measure acts of the Federal Provinces (Gentechnik-Vorsorgegesetze)

All Federal Provinces have enacted what are known as genetic engineering precautionary measures acts, or the cultivation of GMOs is clearly regulated in other provincial laws. Any GMO cultivation data that must to be disclosed according to provincial laws is entered into the nation-wide genetic engineering register.

See Link for genetic engineering activities in the Federal Provinces

On 15 July 2011, Commission Regulation no 619/2011 (see Link Regulation) laying down the methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of feed as regards presence of genetically modified material for which an authorisation procedure is pending or the authorisation of which has expired entered into force. As with the Ordinance on Genetically Modified Seed, a tolerance of 0.1% applies.