EU conference: Stop the deregulation of genetic engineering!

- The plans of the EU Commission to deregulate genetic engineering threaten consumers as well as the "Ohne Gentechnik" and organic farming sectors. The new German Traffic Light coalition government can make a decisive contribution to stop these plans. According to the Commission, all options are still open. A high-level conference is being held today in Brussels to discuss this topic.

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

In the run-up to today's "Modern Biotechnologies in Agriculture" conference, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides wrote in a letter to "Ohne Gentechnik", organic and environmental associations that all options would be considered in the ongoing consultation process, including maintaining the status quo. That would mean new genetic engineering would also remain regulated.

Alexander Hissting, Managing Director of the Association Food without Genetic Engineering (VLOG), comments, "It must become clear to the EU Commission that the deregulation of genetic engineering is not an option. The designated new German Federal Government, with Cem Özdemir in the Agricultural and Steffi Lemke in the Environment Ministry, can and must contribute crucially to convincing the EU Commission of this with its weighty voice in the European Union.

GMO-free food production is booming, both in the organic and conventional sectors. This success story would be massively threatened if plants produced with new genetic engineering were to come onto the market untested and unlabeled. GMO-free conventional and organic products would not be safe from contamination. A loss of consumer confidence and massive economic losses would be the result."

As Secretary General of ENGA (European Non-GMO Industry Association), Heike Moldenhauer represents the interests of the Non-GMO industry on the panel "Engaging consumers and empowering them to make informed choices" at today's conference and explains, "Consumers in the EU do not want any genetic engineering in their food, this applies to old as well as to new genetic engineering. So far, the EU Commission has ignored this completely. In the case of new genetic engineering, it refuses to commit to transparency and freedom of choice. It wants to abolish risk assessment completely for the majority of plants produced with new genetic engineering. Risk assessment is essential for the food retail sector, however, because it is responsible and liable for the safety of its products.

Genetic engineering labeling is just as important, as it is the only way to ensure control over commodity chains and freedom of choice. The Commission must stop its deregulation plans for new genetic engineering immediately, in the interest of consumers and large parts of the European food trade, which has clearly expressed in a resolution that it is in favor of maintaining the current legislation."  

Letter from Stella Kyriakides, 26 November 2021

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