In October 2009, after nearly a year of back and forth, the Polish government formally sent a draft GMO cultivation law to the Parliament. The draft law was prepared by the Ministry of the Environment; which released a note addressing Greenpeace’s call for a ban on GMO’s in Poland. The note is attached in translation to this report.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Voluntary - Public
GAIN Report Number:
Draft GMO Cultivation Law moves to the Parliament
In October 2009, after nearly a year of back and forth, the Polish government formally sent a draft GMO
cultivation law to the Parliament. The draft law was prepared by the Ministry of the Environment;
which released a note addressing Greenpeace?s call for a ban on GMO?s in Poland. The note is attached
in translation to this report. The new law aims to adapt the Polish cultivation law to EU regulations, but
envisages the creation of GMO-free zones by vote of individual Polish farmers. The law provides for
the Ministry to conduct an environmental impact statement that will help them retain control and
possibly prohibit planting. Most importantly, and in a discrimination against farm groups, the Ministry
only allows environmental NGOs and organic farmers to be part of the expert panels that will review
GM technology ? a clear bias. Many farm groups are talking about GM benefits, in Poland, in
particular about energy and climate change uses. The new GMO law replaces the existing GMO Act
from 2001, and changes seed sales procedures that made selling GM seeds illegal in 2006, and is
expected to be worked on by the Polish Parliament and implemented by the end of 2009.
The Polish interministerial Council on October 13, 2009 approved a draft GMO cultivation law
prepared by the Ministry of Environment, and formally sent the draft to the Parliament for approval.
The process of creating a new cultivation law lasted more than a year, as a radical, unscientifically
supported, initial proposal from the Ministry of Environment was slowly toned down during the year.
While some EU member states can claim a ban on GMOs, none has been able to present scientific
evidence to support their view. The new proposal aims to adapt Polish law to EU regulations, but also
envisages the possibility of creation of GMO-free zones by individual Polish farmers. The new rules are
intended to organize the supervision and control of GMOs in Poland, and replace the existing GMO Act
from 2001. After a law in approved by the Parliament and signed by the President, the ministries will
get busy drafting implementing regulations. Work on implementation regulations (including
coexistence rules) will be a complicated one, but is likely to be concluded by the end of 2009.
Following are some of other important parts of proposed law:
To deliberately release GMOs for laboratories there will need to be a permit for "experimental release to
the environment." The possibility of such a release will depend on the assessment of the impact of
GMOs on the soil, flora and fauna, protected species and climate. Also required will be consent of all
owners of parcels adjacent to the area where the GMOs are to be used.
The coordinator of the monitoring and control of GMOs in Poland will be the Minister for the
Environment. The Minister will be responsible for exchange of information concerning the safety of
humans and the environment, making available information about GMOs, and keeping records. The
Ministry will also issue permits: to conduct plant genetic engineering, on the contained use of micro-
organisms and genetically modified organisms and their release into the environment, and on the
marketing of genetically modified organisms. The Minister will also be responsible for the registration
of varieties, seed and transgenic crops.
The Minister for Health, in turn, will issue decisions on the marketing of medicinal products from
GMOs, and the Chief Sanitary Inspector will be responsible for the marketing of genetically modified
The law proposes to block any science on a gene expression that contains genes that block antibiotic
The Committee on GMOs, which is to issue opinions on proposals concerning genetically modified
organisms, in addition to representatives of the Ministers (Health, Agriculture, Environment, Home
Affairs and Administration, National Defense, Science and Higher Education) will include seven
members of the science community - experts in the field of ecology. The Commission will consist of
representatives of environmental NGOs, associations of agricultural producers and consumer
organizations to be determined by the Minister. Panels are heavily weighed with negative information
Greenpeace representatives continue to hold protests against GMOs in Poland demanding that the
Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture in Poland ban genetically modified maize.
Ministries continue to explain that they cannot do so; as such regulation would not be allowed under the
EU regulations. Attached please find an official comment by the Ministry of Environment to
Greenpeace?s call to ban GMOs in Poland.
Official comment by the Ministry of Environment to Greenpeace?s call to ban GMOs in Poland:
?Ministry of the Environment in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
prepared a Law (Act) on Genetically Modified Organisms, which regulates the overall issues related to
genetically modified plants in Poland and adjusts Polish law to EU requirements.
The Act provides for a possibility of creation GMO-free zones. Such zone would be created by group of
owners of farms, at their own initiative. This creates a transparent framework to ensure farmers the
freedom of conducting economic activities, which also allows one to disable certain areas from the
cultivation of GM crops. In addition, the Act will allow for operation of facilities for professional
research in the field of GMOs in en-closed systems, ensure a greater level of security associated with the
use of GMO?s and facilitate access to comprehensive information on this topic.
Subject to the so-called technical bill notification, the Act was submitted for approval and an approval
of the Commission of the European Communities was obtained. Thus, the project is fully consistent
with Community law. In addition, the new law on GMO?s identified cases in, which Minister of
Agriculture will have the possibility of imposing a temporary restriction or prohibition of growing
certain varieties of genetically modified plants, which are genetically modified organisms, and have
been marketed with the possibility of cultivation.
A complete ban on the use of GMOs in Poland is not possible due to European Union law in this
area. Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release of GMO?s into the environment allows for
temporary restriction or prohibition of use of various genetically modified organisms, where the results
indicate the adverse impacts of genetically modified organism and its risk to human health or the
According to the Office of the Committee for European Integration "deliberate release of genetically
modified organisms into the environment within the meaning of Directive 2001/18/EC can not be
equated with the commercial cultivation of GM crops." This means that the provisions contained in Part
B and the relevant Annexes to Directive 2001/18/WE do not apply to genetically modified crops.
Consequently, provisions of the Act of 22 June 2001 on Genetically Modified Organisms, implementing
part B of Directive 2001/18/EC, can not constitute grounds to ban or restrict the cultivation of
genetically modified plants in Poland.
So it is not true that the Polish government ignores the voices of part of Polish society, which is opposed
to GMO?s. Prepared regulations in accordance with Government strategy on GMO?s, will ensure an
adequate level of safety of GMOs (eg in the event of specific threats will prohibit the use of a product or
a GM crop-growing), while allowing more reliable research in this area.
In Poland the law of 22 June 2001 on genetically modified organisms (Journal of Laws of 2007 No 36,
pos. 233), and the Law of 26 June 2003, the seed industry (Journal of Laws of 2007 r . No. 41, pos. 271)
are in place.
Currently, the European Community can grow several varieties of maize MON810 (this is the only GM
product put on the market with the possibility of cultivation). Under European Community law,
genetically modified plants may be grown, if they are approved for trading with the possibility of
cultivating based on a decision of the competent authority of the European Union. Such crops need not
be formally notified.?