Genetically modified crops in SA

Genetically modified (GM) crops are plants used in agriculture that have had their DNA modified through gene technology. Examples of results include:

  • resistance to certain pests, diseases and herbicides
  • tolerance to environmental conditions such as drought or frost
  • increased production of nutrients, such as omega 3 oils.

Changes to SA legislation

Changes have been passed by the South Australian Parliament that will allow GM food crops to be cultivated in SA, except on Kangaroo Island.

Regulation of GM crops

GM crops are regulated under a national scheme by the Gene Technology Regulator, through the Gene Technology Act 2000. This scheme assesses the health and environmental impacts of GM crops before they are approved for use by farmers.

Products of GM organisms, such as foods or medicine, are regulated under a product specific scheme. Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) must:

  • approve any foods made from GM organisms before they can be sold in Australia
  • set the food labelling requirements for these GM foods.

The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) provides fact sheets and a list of approved GM crops.

Further changes to the Act, operational from 15 November 2020, removed ‘transport’ from the definition of ‘cultivate’ in the Act.

Information for producers

Learn more about the coexistence of GM and non-GM crop production systems.

Council applications to be a non-GM crop area

Councils were given a once-off opportunity to apply to be recognised as an area where no GM food crops can be grown.

The Council application process is now complete and has resulted in no Councils being designated as no GM food crop areas under the Act. Read more about the application process and outcomes.

History of GM crops in South Australia

Historical information about the Independent Anderson Review, Statutory Consultation process, public meetings, regulation changes, and the GM Crop Advisory Committee is available on the following pages:

Page Last Reviewed: 30 Jan 2023
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