Relevant authorities in Germany

Within the German government, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection (BMELV) is responsible for all legislation on genetic engineering and thus for regulations on co-existence, labelling, and traceability. Scientists at research institutions of the BMELV are involved with research on co-existence. The federal states are responsible for monitoring compliance with regulations on labelling and traceability. The authorities under the BMELV coordinate this work.

Regulatory bodies

As competent national authority, the BMELV is responsible for governing genetic engineering in general. Thus the Ministry of Agriculture is the relevant authority for amending the Gene Technology Act, which regulates the cultivation of genetically modified plants and contains general rules on co-existence. The task of developing detailed rules on co-existence in terms of Good Agricultural Practice for the cultivation of GMOs also belongs to the BMELV. The German parliament (Bundestag) must approve all amendments, as must the Bundesrat in most cases, the representatives of the federal states.

Usually, also the  ministries of environment, of health and of economy have a say in questions on genetic engineering. In many cases, legislation on genetically modified plants is limited to the adoption of European Commission regulations into national law.

Federal research institutions

The Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants – Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI) belongs to the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection. It has been involved in several research projects concerning co-existence. It is also involved in the scientific assessment of GMOs intended for deliberate release.

Surveillance authorities for labelling and traceability

The federal states are responsible for enforcing labelling and traceability rules. To that end, the states’ food and feed inspectors control imports of agricultural products and food and feed processing facilities by taking random samples and checking relevant documentation (for an overview of the states’ inspection results see GMO-Compass). Representatives of the different surveillance authorities regularly meet in joint state and federal working groups to agree on uniform monitoring standards. The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) coordinates the working groups. In the European Network of GMO Laboratories (ENGL), which develops and tests standards for analyses on the European level, Germany is represented by the by the following five institutions:


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