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.

EU Health Commisioner Stella Kyriakides, Photo: European Union / EC - Audiovisual Service 2021

"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.

Deregulation would be a total contradiction to the Green Deal and Farm to Fork

Deregulation, even partial, of GMOs would mean the abolition of an important food quality standard. It would be in total contradiction to the Green Deal and Farm to Fork, which promise better, healthier, more sustainable food as well as more environmental and nature protection. The European Parliament and Member States must now make it clear to the EU Commission that GMO deregulation is the wrong path for Europe.

The challenge of detection methods must be taken up at last

The challenges in the detection of some new GMO products addressed by the Commission can certainly not be a reason to no longer consider them as GMOs. On the contrary: It is high time for more serious efforts in finding detection methods. Detection also in regards to new GM products is possible. This has been shown by the test for "gene editing" of Cibus rapeseed presented in 2020 by VLOG, ARGE Gentechnikfrei and other organisations. There are also additional testing options such as a complete documentation of production and supply chains.

GMO deregulation would seriously endanger the "Ohne Gentechnik" business sector

If GMO deregulation were to become reality, it would massively jeopardise the successful Ohne Gentechnik' business sector, which now accounts for over 12 billion euros in retail sales and over 5 percent of the food market share in Germany alone. Consumers attach great importance to GMO free food. By this, they also explicitly mean new methods of genetic engineering such as CRISPR, as current surveys show. They see GMOs as GMOs, just like Europe's highest judges. It is therefore essential for consumers, the agricultural and food sector as well as for the major retailers that gene editing, CRISPR and the like continue to be considered genetic engineering in the EU without exception.

EC study on new genomic techniques (publication, summary, press release, Q & A)