CH Schweiz
  • 65 - Landwirtschaft

Genetically modified (GM) plants, plant material, seeds and animals

Draft amendments to the Federal Law of 21 March 2003 relating to Non-human Gene Technology (1 page(s), in German; 1 page(s), in French; 1 page(s), in Italian)

Switzerland has adopted in a public voting in November 2005 a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Switzerland. This moratorium, introduced for a first period until 27 November 2010, was renewed until 27 November 2013, and then for a second time until 31 December 2017 and a third time until 31 December 2021, as notified in G/TBT/N/CHE/227 under the WTO Agreement on technical barriers to trade. On 11 November 2020, the Federal Council has decided to propose a further renewal until 31 December 2025. This proposal is currently undergoing a consultation and is planned to enter into force as from 1 August 2022.

The reason for the present modification of the Federal Non-Human Gene Technology Law is to extend the moratorium for an additional period of four years due to the uncertainty that persists concerning mandatory coexistence between GMOs and non-GMOs, the legal status of organisms derived from new breeding technologies and risks management measures of the latter organisms. 

According to art. 37a, "licenses for placing on the market of genetically modified plants and parts thereof, of genetically modified seeds and other reproductive plant material, and of genetically modified animals shall not be granted for agricultural, horticultural or sylvicultural purposes for the period until 31 December 2025".

The moratorium does not cover research activities (including field releases of GM plants, authorized and supervised by the competent authorities) with GMOs nor the placing on the market of food, feed, drugs, etc. consisting of or containing GMOs.