07.06.2021 |

EU Countries Support the Deregulation of New GMOs

Last week, EU Member States welcomed the alarming Commission’s study on “New Genomic Techniques”, which suggests certain new GMOs to be exempt from rigorous safety assessments. Slow Food sees this disappointing conclusion as a proof of the EU’s resort to biotechnologies as a silver bullet for current food system problems and calls on the EU institutions to keep new genomic techniques strictly regulated.

06.06.2021 |

The European Commission’s Working Document on “New Genomic Techniques” POLICY BRIEF

On 29 April 2021, the European Commission published a report in which it concluded that new GMOs or New Genomic Techniques (NGT) “could provide benefits for EU Society” including improving the sustainability of our food systems, and that the current EU GMO rules were no longer “fit for purpose”, paving the way for the deregulation of certain new GMO crops. Such deregulation could entail less stringent safety assessments of new GMOs as well as no longer requiring new GMOs to be labelled or traceable throughout the food supply chain, which currently ensure farmers’ and consumers’ freedom of choice.

What does the report say?

The report summarizes consultation responses submitted by EU member states and stakeholders (including civil society organizations, farmers’ associations and businesses), as well as various EU reports. The Commission’s investigation is clearly marked by an effort to suggest a balanced approach. However, there are clear indications that the study does want to set political accents that are serving industry interests:

26.05.2021 |

EU food retailers oppose any moves to classify new plant breeding techniques as non-GMO

Leading EU supermarkets such as Aldi, Rewe and Lidl say that all products stemming from new genetic engineering methods such as CRISPR/Cas, TALENs and others, must be classified as GMOs.

19.05.2021 |

‎The Food Chain: What's the appetite for gene edited food?

Gene editing could revolutionise agriculture, with some scientists promising healthier and more productive crops and animals, but will consumers want to eat them?

With the first gene edited crops recently approved for sale, Emily Thomas hears why this technology might be quicker, cheaper and more accurate than the older genetic engineering techniques that produced GMOs, and asks whether these differences could make it more acceptable to a deeply sceptical, even fearful public.

Contributors:

Jennifer Kuzma, North Carolina State University;

Hiroshi Ezura, University of Tsukuba and Sanatech Seed;

Neth Daño, ETC Group;

Philippe Dumont, Calyxt

17.05.2021 |

Slow Food Europe Podcast: What’s Going on with New GMOs?

Episode 1 | What’s Going on with New GMOs?

What are new GMOs? How do they differ from old GMOs? What are the EU latest developments on the matter? We asked three experts to answer these questions and many more:

Elisa D’Aloisio, peasant farmer at the European Coordination Via Campesina with a PhD in genetics and practical expertise in GMOs

Martin Sommer, policy coordinator at IFOAM Organics Europe, the association for organic food and farming in Europe

Madeleine Coste, Policy Officer at Slow Food Europe

30.04.2021 |

EU Commission wants to reform GMO regulation

Testbiotech points to already existing legal flexibility

30 April 2021 / The EU Commission has published a report on new genomic techniques (New GE, genome editing) in plants and animals. They have concluded that the current EU GMO regulation should be reformed. Its fundamental goals are to promote New GE applications in agriculture and to foster international trade, technology and product development. The Commission is also demanding that decisions on market approvals should consider the potential benefits and not only the outcome of risk assessment. Safety for health and environment should nevertheless be guaranteed. A public consultation will be held in the coming months to resolve open questions.

Testbiotech plans to contribute to the consultation and also sees the need for some adjustment. One reason: in many cases, the risk assessment of the New GE applications is much more complex compared to ‘Old GE’. At the same time, Testbiotech also points out that current regulation provides enough flexibility for adjustments. This is not only relevant for standards in risk assessment. For example, the EU Commission can already take potential benefits into account in its decisions on market approvals. However, as Testbiotech emphasises, these aspects must not be confused with scientific questions of risk assessment.

30.04.2021 |

Commission under fire for new 'deregulatory' approach to GMOs

The EU's existing legislation on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is not "fit for purpose" for new genomic techniques and needs to be adapted to contribute to sustainable food systems, a European Commission study has concluded.

(.....)

EUobserver recently revealed how the NGO Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) uncovered new lobbying techniques aimed at deregulating new GMOs via climate-friendly narratives.

"DG SANTE [the EU Commission branch responsible for this report] has clearly listened more to the biotech lobby than to anyone else. Its study on new GMOs is yet another example of the corporate capture of EU decision-making," said Nina Holland, a researcher at CEO.

These groups have previously warned that the unintended effects of new GMOs are still unpredictable, amid concerns about the possible loss of agricultural diversity.

"GMOs by another name are still GMOs, and must be treated as such under the law," said Greenpeace.

29.04.2021 |

New GMOs: EU Commission must make significant improvements

In its publication on the future handling of new genetic engineering methods, the EU Commission gives broad space to the positions of promoters of genetic engineering, but wants to stick to safety for consumers and the environment as guiding principles. Safety, protection of "Ohne Gentechnik" and organic farming as well as GMO labelling are explicitly mentioned, but fall far too short in the conclusions.

"There is a more than obvious need for improvement here," comments VLOG’s Managing Director Alexander Hissting: "The current rules already allow plants to be approved after comprehensive safety testing and risk assessment and with labelling of the products as GMOs. There is no ban. So there is no need for change at all. No one should seriously question careful testing and approval procedures. To foist unmarked GM food onto consumers would mean a massive loss of confidence in politics and food business.

29.04.2021 |

Press release: European Commission threatens our freedom of choice

New GMOs are being promoted in a study by the European Commission ignoring the precautionary principle and the freedom of choice for farmers and consumers. The Biodynamic Federation Demeter International is deeply concerned by this position and reiterates the necessity to oppose any deregulation of GMOs.

(.....)

GMO regulation

In view of the upcoming discussions on a potential new policy on new GMOs, the Federation urges the European Commission and the EU Member States to “take a clear stand against a deregulation of all new GMOs fully enforcing the precautionary principle of the ECJ ”. “Prior risk assessment and authorisation, as well as traceability and labelling, are essential for all products on the market to ensure the freedom of choice for both farmers and consumers, as well as to limit the risks to our health and the environment”, says Clara Behr, Head of Policy and Public Relations at the Federation.

29.04.2021 |

EU study: GMO laws needs overhaul; environmentalists protest

BRUSSELS (AP) — A new European Union study finds that the two decade-old legislation on genetically modified organisms should be revamped, a process environmentalists claim will open the door to a new generation of bioengineered crops being allowed into the EU market without proper checks.

(.....)

“The European Commission has fallen hook, line and sinker for the biotech industry’s spin, and has set the future of food and farming in the EU down a dark path,” said Mute Schimpf of Friends of the Earth Europe, reflecting the views of many environmentalists.

She said that the study was “suggesting tearing up decades of the precautionary principle, by allowing new GM crops onto our fields and plates without safety tests.”

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