YEAR 2017 N.º 2

ISSN 2182-9845

The Genetically Modified Organisms in European Union Law: the role of the precautionary principle and the relationship between Authority and Freedom

Roberto Saija


Precautionary principle; substantial equivalence; GMO; biotechnology; food security; co-existence.


The essay examines the European regulatory framework for GMOs, in terms of cultivation, nutrition (foods containing GMOs or derived from GMOs), release into the environment.

In this logic is given particular attention, after a historical overview on the first Community action in the field of the early nineties (dir. 1990/219 and 220), the rules in force, namely Directive 2001/18, as amended, the regulations 1829 and 1830/2003, the latter on labeling and traceability, and 2015/412 Directive gives Member States the possibility to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their territory.

In addition to the legal framework, the paper examines the main positions of the doctrine and jurisprudence of domestic courts and European laws. The research part of the precautionary principle, on which the European discipline that is analyzed in relation to the approach the US, however based on the principle of substantial equivalence.