HSE and GMOs

HSE operates and enforces legislation in Great Britain that aims to control the risks to human health and the environment arising from activities involving GMOs in containment under the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2000.

Containment means that physical, chemical or biological barriers are used to limit contact between GMOs and humans or the environment. Contained Use facilities therefore include; laboratories, animal houses, plant growth rooms and glasshouses, industrial fermenters used for large scale production of enzymes or therapeutics, and facilities to contain genetically modified farm animals.

HSE does not lead on policy or enforcement relating to the deliberate release of GMOs into the environment, marketing of GMOs (DEFRA) or GM food safety (FSA).

Who we are

The Specialist Inspector Team

  • Provide advice and guidance to centres working with harmful micro-organisms and genetically modified organisms.
  • Undertake inspections of premises undertaking work with micro-organisms classified in Hazard Groups 3 and 4 or research activities with micro-organisms in Hazard Group 2 or any work with genetically modified micro-organisms.

The Notification Team

  • Manage the statutory notification scheme for GM premises and activities and undertake the administrative procedures involved in the handling of notifications under the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations and COSHH.

The Policy Team

  • Negotiate and implement EU and international law and Conventions on biological agents and GMOs
  • Develop national legislation
  • Ensure that the regulatory regime covering micro-organisms is in line with over-arching government policies

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) - SACGM (CU)

A committee of external experts providing technical and scientific advice to the UK Competent Authorities (UK CAs) on all aspects of the human and environmental risks of the contained use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

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Updated 2023-11-24