Navigation path

Contained use of GMOs

The term "contained use" covers any activity that limits the contact between GMOs and people or the environment. It relates to genetic modification proper and to the s torage, transport, destruction, disposal or any other specific containment and protective measures of GMOs or GM micro-organisms.

Directive 2009/41/EC - contained use of GM micro-organisms

Risk could happen if GMOs came into contact with other organisms in the environment. Assessing the risks of all activities ensures that controls are in place to protect people and the environment. EU rules provide a framework for making these judgments.

Main duties for people carrying out contained use activities

EU legislation places clear legal obligations on people who work with GMOs.

Anyone carrying out contained use work must notify the authorities. They will check if the installation is adequate for the activity and is not dangerous to human health and the environment.

The authority must give its consent before starting the activity, if it involves high risk.

Classification of activities

To asses the risk to people and the environment, contained use activities are classified into 1 of 4 classes with assigned containment levels and protective measures.

Class1 covers activities of no or negligible risk; class 4 - those of high risk.

The Directive is a minimum standards directive. This means that its scope may be extended to include contained use activities that involve GM plants or animals.

EU countries report to the Commission on their experience with this Directive every 3 years.