EU commission pressed to regulate new plant breeding techniques

A large coalition of NGOs, campaign groups, farmers, and business organizations have written to vice president of the EU Commission, Frans Timmermans, calling on him to ensure all organisms derived from new genetic engineering techniques continue to be regulated in accordance with existing EU GMO standards.

The call​​ comes as the EU Commission is expected to present its views on the future regulation of new genomic plant breeding techniques at the end of April, based on an in-house study mandated by the EU Council of Ministers.

The signatories of the letter to the Commission indicated they were deeply concerned about attempts to deregulate an emerging new generation of genetically modified (GM) crops and animals engineered with new genomic techniques such as CRISPR/Cas.

The EU Court of Justice ruled in 2018 that this new generation of GM organisms must be regulated under the EU’s existing GMO laws. Their exclusion from the EU GMO directive, according to the signatories, “would compromise the objective of protection pursued by the directive and would fail to respect the precautionary principle which it seeks to implement,”​ as per paragraph 53 of the ruling.

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