The use of genetic engineering in farming and forestry poses risks for nature and nature conservation. Thus, under both EU and German law, a risk assessment must be conducted prior to the approval of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) so as to determine their effects on nature and the environment. By contributing its environment protection and nature conservation expertise, BfN plays an active role in the GMO approval process.
Genetically modified rapeseed was first grown commercially in Canada in 1995. Transgenic soya, maize, cotton and rapeseed varieties are now the main GMO crops grown around the world. The transgenic Bt maize variety MON810 is the first GMO to be commercially cultivated in the EU, where it has been grown since 1998. No GMO crops have been grown in Germany since 2012. However, some 70 GMO varieties are approved for import and processing in the EU. Imported GMO crops are largely used in and for animal feed.