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Switzerland tightens regulations on genetically modified substances

The Swiss government on Wednesday signed into force new regulations aimed at tightening control over the use of genetically modified substances and potentially hazardous organisms.

This content was published on August 25, 1999 - 14:45

The Swiss government on Wednesday signed into force new regulations aimed at tightening control over the use of genetically modified substances and potentially hazardous organisms.

Under the new regulations, research and test projects involving genetically modified substances, or organisms that can endanger people’s health, can only go ahead after the federal authorities have assessed the risks.

Depending on the type of project, the risk assessment will be carried out by the Federal Health Office, the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape and the Federal Offices for Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine.

Field tests of genetically modified substances will only be allowed once it has been established that, based on current scientific research, they do not pose a risk to humans and the environment.

All field tests must be closely monitored so that long-term effects on the environment can be evaluated. The authorities can also demand the implementation of specific safety measures before the work can go ahead.

The government has set up a new biotechnology office which is to coordinate contacts between project managers and the federal authorities.

There has been some controversy in Switzerland over genetically modified maize and potatoes. In April, the federal authorities rejected two requests to plant such products, saying too little was known about the consequences for humans and the environment.


From staff and wire reports.

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