How long does it take for a GM crop for import to be approved, and how much does this cost?

In 2015, it took on average 6.5 years from the time of submission until the final authorisation of a GM crop for import. GM crops do not normally get approved for cultivation in the EU at all, even if their safety is proven.

For comparison, in the main cultivating countries it takes between one and two and a half years on average to obtain a cultivation approval.

The increasing timelines are particularly felt at the risk assessment level in the European Food Safety Authority. In 2006, the risk assessment of GM applications took on average less than two years, while in 2014 more than five years were needed for risk assessment despite increasing experience with GMOs and not a single substantiated case of ill effect in nearly two decades of GMO commercialisation.

Costs for applicant companies arise mainly from the large number of studies required and vary from € 7 million to €15 million per crop.

More information: Consult EuropaBio’s Five reasons for the Commission to continue granting Europe’s livestock farmers freedom of choice and Increasing Timelines for Risk Assessment of GMOs in EFSA documents.