The “Ohne Gentechnik” segment of the agriculture, processing, trading and marketing industries is booming in many European countries. But products made with new genetic engineering methods pose a massive economic threat to that segment. Consistent with the European Court of Justice (ECJ)’s ruling, the “Ohne Gentechnik” business sector advocates that all products made with the new genetic engineering methods be regulated as “genetically engineered”. Germany’s VLOG and Austria’s ARGE Gentechnik-frei made this clear in the EU Commission’s stakeholder survey in the spring of 2020. A summary of our responses can be found in this document.
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.
94 associations call for strict regulation of GMOs
In a joint position paper, a broad alliance of 94 NGOs from environmental protection, animal welfare, nature conservation, development policy, churches, consumer protection, agriculture, breeding and the food industry has called on the German government to continue to regulate and label all current and future genetic engineering methods and their products as GMOs.d zu kennzeichnen.
"Ohne Gentechnik" grows - preserve transparency!
In 2020, consumers in Germany spent around 12.6 billion euros on products with the "Ohne GenTechnik" (Non GMO) label, an increase of more than 12 percent. The market share in food is thus around 5.4 percent. To secure this success in the long term, new GMOs must also remain regulated as GMOs. After the publication of the EU study on the topic next week, the debate is likely to gain steam.
What are we committed to?
“‘Ohne GenTechnik’ labelling was one of the most important projects in my tenure as Federal Minister of Agriculture. I am therefore pleased with its success story, which benefits so many farmers and processors. Those who wish to make well-informed shopping decisions need reliable information. This also applies to new genetic engineering methods and the products made with them”.
Ilse Aigner, President, Bavarian State Parliament, 2018
“Consumers want to know what is in their food and how that food is made. The vast majority do not want GMOs in the fields or on their plates. The ‘Ohne GenTechnik’ seal creates the necessary transparency for a confident shopping choice”.
Klaus Müller, Board, Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (vzbv), 2020
“I am fighting so that one day we will not need this seal anymore – because everything is non-GMO. The VLOG and its widely used seal help create and strengthen public awareness of this goal”.
Sarah Wiener, chef, entrepreneur, author and Member of the European Parliament, 2020
“The ‘Ohne GenTechnik’ seal enables people to protect the environment on an international scale while shopping: The logo on milk, eggs and meat shows consumers that no genetically modified plants, e.g., from South America, have wound up in the animals’ feeding troughs. CRISPR genetic engineering must certainly be regulated and labelled so the seal can continue to guarantee freedom of choice”.
Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger, Honorary Chairman, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), 2020
“The REWE Group has been a member of VLOG since 2012. It is important for us that our products are clearly labelled so our customers can make well-informed choices. It is also part of our quality standard that the soy feed used in our own brand products must be GMO-free. We rely on the VLOG Standard to ensure this”.
Dr. Daniela Büchel, Divisional Management, Board, REWE Group, 2020
“The VLOG Standard provides us with a practical framework for ensuring that feed production is GMO-free. I contribute my company’s experience in ‘Ohne Gentechnik’ compound feed production to the VLOG expert group and actively collaborate in the further development of the VLOG Standard”.
Artur Bisenius, Management, beweka Kraftfutterwerk, Heilbronn, 2020