PH v Venezia Giulia. CJEU confirms room for Member States under the GMO Directive to restrict approved GMOs with a view to preventing contamination.

In Case C-24/21 PH v Venezia Giulia, the Court has confirmed the room for Member States under Directive 2001/18 to restrict or prohibit by law the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms crops approved at the EU level.

Article 26 bis of the Directive says in so many words “Member States may take appropriate measures to avoid the unintended presence of GMOs in other products”.

It is the ‘unintended’ presence of GMOs in other products that can be regulated ([53] this is to ensure the proper choice for consumers between organic, conventional and GMO products, and [47] these must not relate to the environmental or public health implications if GMOs, the latter already having been included in the risk assessment that leads to EU approval.

Of note is that the judgment did not yet discuss the wider room, introduced later, for Member States to restrict GMOs on the basis of ‘environmental or agricultural policy objectives, or other compelling grounds such as town and country planning, land use, socioeconomic impacts, coexistence and public policy’.


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