Save Our Seeds

Saatgut ist die Grundlage unserer Ernährung. Es steht am Anfang und am Ende eines Pflanzenlebens. Die Vielfalt und freie Zugänglichkeit dieses Menschheitserbes zu erhalten, das von Generation zu Generation weitergegeben wird, ist die Aufgabe von Save Our Seeds.

Foto: Weizenkorn Triticum Karamyschevii Schwamlicum fotografiert von Ursula Schulz-Dornburg im Vavilov Institut zu St.Petersburg

14.02.2024 |

EU Parliament disregards science by endorsing deregulation of new GM plants

After the EU Commission, the EU Parliament now also displays a clear disregard of science, by endorsing the deregulation of new genetically modified (GM) plants. It thereby puts EU citizens and the environment at risk, in conflict with the Parliament’s mandate to represent their interests. Citizens must now hope that the EU Council, which is still undecided, will stop this deregulation.

By a narrow majority (7%), the EU Parliament has endorsed the Commission’s proposal to deregulate GM plants made with New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), albeit with some amendments. The Parliament has proposed to maintain traceability and labelling of products of the plants (which the Commission wants to abolish) and to introduce a safeguard clause, meaning that a plant or product may be withdrawn from the market if a risk to health or the environment appears. However, the safety of NGT plants and products is still not guaranteed, as risk assessment remains absent from the proposal. So risks may materialise upon consumption or cultivation and may not be dealt with until they are discovered.

07.02.2024 |

For a science-based regulation of plants from new genetic techniques

Technological progress makes genetic engineering a rapidly developing field. In its proposal of July 2023, the European Commission (EC) aims to deregulate a subset of new genetic techniques (NGT). This proposal would exempt certain NGT plants from the current EU regulatory framework for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) based on a considered equivalence with conventionally bred plants. Similar to the French ANSES, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) argues in its new policy brief that this approach of considered equivalence lacks a valid scientific basis and violates the precautionary principle, since plausible risks cannot be excluded.

07.02.2024 |

EU Parliament in favour for deregulation of NGT plants, BUT …

Contradictory results in Strasbourg

7 February 2024 / The EU Parliament (EP) today voted in favour of the deregulation of plants derived from new genetic engineering (NGT). It is doubtful that all MEPs have understood what they decided. A comment by Pascal Canfin on X (formerly Twitter), in which he claims that these plants would only be used to save pesticides and combat climate change, seems almost satirical. Canfin is chairman of the EP’s Environment Committee. He also suggested that a vote should be held first and only then should EFSA be asked for a further opinion on the risks.

06.02.2024 |

New publication highlights the risks of NGT oilseed rape

Crucial questions on future regulation of NGT plants still unresolved

6 February 2024 / A new study, which has appeared as a 'preprint', highlights the environmental risks associated with the use of new genetic engineering (NGTs) in oilseed crops, such as rapeseed and camelina. These plants are by no means harmless in the environment: a frequently pursued goal is a change in the composition of the oil. However, both increasing and decreasing the polyunsaturated fatty acid content can have negative effects on pollinators feeding on the pollen of the NGT plants.

Furthermore, if NGT plants are introduced into agriculture, it is not unlikely that many different genetically engineered plants could be simultaneously released into the environment. Once released, the plants may interbreed with each other or with wildlife species, and thus spread in the environment.

31.01.2024 |

Green Week 2024: Important commitments to freedom of choice regarding GMOs

The German Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) and Peter Hauk (CDU), his regional counterpart from Baden-Württemberg, made an explicit commitment to maintaining freedom of choice for genetically modified food at the "Grüne Woche" [Green Week] 2024 in Berlin. VLOG used the trade fair for talks with politicians.

Özdemir: Extremely strong market needs to be protected

"Anyone who wants to farm GMO-free must be able to do so reliably in the future," said Özdemir in his opening speech at the reception of the organic food sector at the Green Week. "This is about an extremely strong market that has the right to be protected," added the Minister, "addressing those who otherwise always sing the praises of the market economy and market forces".

24.01.2024 |

Plenary vote on NGTs: call for postponement after ENVI vote


Today, the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI Committee) voted on the legislative proposal on so-called “New Genomic Techniques” (NGTs) but many unresolved issues loom large.

“This rushed legislative process to deregulate NGTs goes against the interest of European breeders, farmers and citizens. Today’s vote by MEPs in the Environment committee leaves too many issues about risks, patents and the right of farmers and consumers to avoid NGTs, unsolved. Instead of rushing into a plenary vote, MEPs should properly discuss how to protect farmers, consumers and the environment from risks associated to NGTs”, said Jan Plagge, president of IFOAM Organics Europe, after the vote.

24.01.2024 |

MEP backing for GMO deregulation threatens rights of farmers

Brussels – The European Commission proposal on new GMOs, and amendments supported today by the European Parliament’s environment committee, risk violating the rights of farmers and consumers, according to new legal analysis by Greenpeace.

The proposed law does not provide sufficient protection against the contamination of crops with new GMOs, which are obtained through so-called new genomic techniques (NGTs).

Greenpeace EU GMO campaigner Eva Corral said: “Decades of progress in the EU on farmers’ rights, and protecting people’s health and the environment, should not be scrapped for the sake of biotech industry profits. Safety measures do not hinder innovation, nor do current rules that apply to GMOs. EU law does not prohibit research and development: it aims to ensure that what is developed does not breach EU citizens’ rights to health and environmental protection.”

15.12.2023 |

NGT deregulation proposal stumbles in Council, but not in Parliament's AGRI Committee

No qualified majority in AGRIFISH Council for Spanish presidency's proposal to widely deregulate NGTs

On 11 December 2023, the Spanish EU Council Presidency failed in its attempt to gain a sufficient majority of member states for a proposal to widely deregulate new GMOs (New Genomic Techniques or NGTs). According to a representative of the Spanish Presidency, they will now try to achieve a qualified majority during a meeting of EU ambassadors on 21 or 22 December. If no qualified majority for a common member states’ position is achieved under the Spanish term of office, the Belgian Presidency will take over from January 2024.

15.12.2023 |

Genetically modified crops aren't a solution to climate change, despite what the biotech industry says

The European Commission launched a proposal in July 2023 to deregulate a large number of plants manufactured using new genetic techniques.

Despite extraordinary attempts by the Spanish presidency to force a breakthrough, EU members have not yet reached a consensus on this plan. But if the proposal were to be approved, these plants would be treated the same as conventional plants, eliminating the need for safety tests and the labelling of genetically modified food products.

12.12.2023 |

No majority in favour of GMO deregulation among EU agriculture ministers

The Spanish EU Council Presidency has failed in its attempt to gain a sufficient majority of Member States in favour of genetic engineering deregulation in a rush job. This, at least, means a brief break in the debate.

Fast-track deregulation has failed for the moment

Alexander Hissting, Managing Director of the Association for Food without Genetic Engineering (VLOG) comments: "Fortunately, the attempt to fast-track the deregulation of genetic engineering has failed for now. The German Agricultural Minister Cem Özdemir rightly said very clearly during the vote in Brussels that the current plan would pose an existential threat to the billion-euro organic and 'Ohne Gentechnik' (Non-GMO) markets.



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