Austria: National GM crop situation

Austria: National bans of GM crops

Austria invoked the safeguard clause to ban 8 products, but its “evidence“ was rejected by the European Food Safety Authority EFSA on 9 occasions. Austria never fulfilled the legal conditions to impose these bans, but the bans remain in place unchallenged.

Austrian ban of genetically modified oilseed rape event GT73

Use: Import, processing and feed uses
Legal ground for ban quoted: Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC

  • Ban: On 27 July 2007, Austria invoked the safeguard clause (Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC) to provisionally prohibit the marketing of genetically modified oilseed rape GT73 on its territory. Austria provided detailed reasons listed in supporting documents.
  • EFSA: On 17 April 2008, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was requested by the European Commission to provide a scientific opinion on the statement and documents submitted by Austria. On 15 June 2009, the Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms of EFSA concluded that no new scientific evidence was presented that would invalidate the previous risk assessment of oilseed rape GT73 which came to the conclusion that GT73 is as safe as conventional oilseed rape. See also  http://www.efsa.europa.eu/it/efsajournal/doc/1151.pdf
  • Two additional EFSA rejections: Austria submitted additional information to prolong its ban in 2011 and 2012. In both cases EFSA concluded that there were no specific scientific evidence in terms of risk to the environment that would support the notification of a safeguard clause measure under Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC nor its prolongation, and that would invalidate its previous risk assessments of oilseed rape GT73. See also http://www.efsa.europa.eu/it/efsajournal/pub/2876.htm and http://www.efsa.europa.eu/it/efsajournal/pub/3201.htm

Reactions European Commission, European Court of Justice, national courts

  • Failure to fulfill legal requirements: The ban has been in place since 2007 although Austria has never provided detailed grounds for considering that genetically modified oilseed rape GT73 constitutes a risk to human health or environment.
  • No action of the EC: The European Commission did not take any action against the ban after the scientific opinion of EFSA in order to guarantee that the European law is implemented correctly.

Austrian ban of genetically modified oilseed rape events Ms8, Rf3, Ms8 x Rf3

Use: Import, processing and feed uses
Legal ground for ban quoted: Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC

  • Ban: On 15 July 2008, Austria invoked invoked the safeguard clause (Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC) to provisionally prohibit the marketing of genetically modified oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8xRF3 on its territory. Austria provided detailed reasons listed in supporting documents.
  • EFSA: On 31 July 2008, EFSA was requested by the European Commission to provide a scientific opinion on the statement and documents submitted by Austria. On 15 June 2009 the Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms of EFSA concluded that no new scientific evidence was presented that would invalidate the previous risk assessment of oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8xRF3 which came to the conclusion that MS8, RF3 and MS8xRF3 are as safe as conventional oilseed rape. See also http://www.efsa.europa.eu/it/efsajournal/doc/1153.pdf
  • Two additional EFSA rejections: Austria submitted additional information to prolong its ban in 2011 and 2012. In both cases EFSA concluded that there was no specific scientific evidence in terms of risk to the environment that would support the notification of a safeguard clause measure under Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC nor its prolongation, and that would invalidate its previous risk assessments of of oilseed rape Ms8, Rf3 and Ms8 x Rf3. See also http://www.efsa.europa.eu/it/efsajournal/pub/2878.htm http://www.efsa.europa.eu/it/efsajournal/pub/3202.htm

Reactions European Commission, European Court of Justice, national courts

  • Failure to fulfill legal requirements: The ban has been in place since 2007 although Austria has never provided detailed grounds for considering that genetically modified oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8xRF3 constitute a risk to human health or environment.
  • No action of the EC: The European Commission did not take any action against the ban after the scientific opinion of EFSA in order to guarantee that the European law is implemented correctly. Status

Austrian ban of genetically modified maize line MON863

Use: Import, processing and feed uses
Legal ground for ban quoted: Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC

  • Ban: On 16 July 2008, Austria invoked the safeguard clause (Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC) to provisionally prohibit the placing on the market of the MON863 maize lines on its territory. Austria provided detailed reasons listed in supporting documents.
  • EFSA: On 3 September 2008, EFSA was requested by the European Commission to provide a scientific opinion on the statement and documents submitted by Austria. The Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms of EFSA concluded that no new scientific evidence was presented that would invalidate the previous risk assessment of maize MON863 which came to the conclusion that MON863 is as safe as conventional maize. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/it/efsajournal/doc/1152.pdf
  • Request of prolongation of the ban: In November 2012 Austria notified to the European Commision its ordinance n 318/2012 prolonging for three additional years the implementation of the national safeguard measure prohibiting the placing on the market of the MON863 maize lines on its territory. The scientific documentation supporting this request is still under evaluation of EFSA and its opinion his due for 31 October 2013.

Reactions European Commission, European Court of Justice, national courts

  • Failure to fulfill legal requirements: The ban has been in place since 2008 although Austria has never provided detailed grounds for considering that genetically modified Maize MON 863 constitutes a risk to human health or environment.
  • No action of the EC: The European Commission did not take any action against the ban after the scientific opinion of EFSA in order to guarantee that the European law is implemented correctly.

Austrian ban of genetically modified maize events MON810 and T25

Use: Cultivation-Import, processing and feed uses
Legal ground for ban quoted: Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC

  • Ban: On 10 June 1999 and on 8 May 2000, Austria invoked the safeguard clause ( Article 16 of Directive 90/220/EEC) to provisionally prohibit the placing on the market of the authorised genetically modified maize events MON810 and T25 on its territory. In February 2004 and November 2007, Austria provided additional information to support the national safeguard measure to be considered under Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC.
  • EFSA: On 18 April 2008 EFSA was requested by the European Commission to provide a scientific opinion on the statement and documents submitted by Austria. On 4 December 2008 the Scientific Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms of EFSA concluded that there was no new scientific evidence that would invalidate the previous risk assessments of maize MON810 and T25 which came to the conclusion that MON810 and T25 are as safe as conventional maize. See also http://www.efsa.europa.eu/it/efsajournal/doc/891.pdf

Reactions European Commission, European Court of Justice, national courts

  • Failure to fulfill the legal requirement: The bans have been in place since 1999 and 2000 although Austria never provided detailed grounds for considering that genetically modified maize MON 810 and T25 constitute a risk to human health or environment.
  • Three Environment Council rejections of EC proposals:  The Environment Council rejected three times an European Commission proposal to repeal the bans. On 24 June 2005, the Council indicated its opposition to the Commission proposal requesting Austria to repeal its national safeguard clause. Despite the re-examination of the Commission proposal, the Environment Council maintained its position on 18 December 2006 and indicated that “the different agricultural structures and regional ecological characteristics in the European Union need to be taken into account in a more systematic manner in the environmental risk assessment”. Finally in March 2009, the Council rejected for the third time an EC proposal for lifting up the Austrian bans. See also http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2009:0056:FIN:EN:PDF
  • No further action of the EC: The European Commission did not challenge the Council’s decisions rejecting the EC draft measures to lift up the bans.

Austrian ban of genetically modified potato EH92-527-1

Use: Cultivation
Legal ground for ban quoted: Article 23 of Directive 2001/18/EC

  • Ban: In June 2010, Austria notified to the European Commission its ordinance implementing a national safeguard measure prohibiting the placing on the market of GM potato EH92-527-1 for cultivation purposes and provided scientific elements in support of its decision.
  • EFSA: On 24 May 2011, EFSA was requested by the European Commission to assess the scientific information submitted by the Austrian Authorities. On 28 March 2012 the EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms and Panel on Biological Hazards concluded that there were no grounds to lead to the reconsideration of EFSA opinion on GM potato EH92-527-1 which concluded that GM potato EH92-527-1 is as safe as conventional potato. See also http://www.efsa.europa.eu/it/efsajournal/doc/2627.pdf

Reactions European Commission, European Court of Justice, national courts

  • Failure to fulfill legal requirements: The ban has been in place since 2010 although Austria has never provided detailed grounds for considering that genetically modified potato EH92-527-1 constitutes a risk to human health or environment.
  • No action of the EC: The European Commission did not take any action against the ban after the scientific opinion of EFSA in order to guarantee that the European law is implemented correctly.